Keeping in view the upcoming assembly elections in naxal- affected Chhattisgarh, the home ministry has urged the telecom department to sped up the process of installing mobile networks in naxal affected zones.
Chhattisgarh which has recently seen a spurt in violent activities by Maoists is going to second phase of polls on November 19.
In an internal note to the telecom department the home secretary Anil Goswami said that Chhattisgarh is one of the worst naxal affected states and conducting peaceful elections will be a big challenge for the state administration in absence of uninterrupted mobile coverage.
The home ministry has also urged the telecom department to consider sending truck mounted base stations to help security forces smoothly conduct the second phase of assembly elections in Chhattisgarh.
In May this year the government cleared the decks have been cleared for rolling out mobile network in Naxal-affected areas by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, financed by the Universal Services Obligation fund.
The Department of Telecom had floated a note for consideration of the Cabinet, which was ratified by all the major central Ministries including Home and Finance.
Under the existing regulations, money from the USO fund can be given only through a tendering process. However, since this project was linked to security, the Department of Telecom wanted the project to be given to BSNL.
The project involves setting up telecom towers in 2,199 locations spread across nine States at a cost of Rs 3,000 crore.