PAC suggests DoT to work with better coordination


To ensure quality mobile phone service in remote areas, Public Accounts Committee on Friday suggested that the Department of Telecom (DoT) should come up with better system of planning, coordination between different implementing agencies in setting up telecom infrastructure.

Though the targeting of setting up towers in rural or remote areas was achieved 99% under the Department of Telecom sponsored Shared Mobile Infrastructure Scheme, the objective of providing mobile services to uncovered areas including rural, remote, hilly and tribal areas had been achieved only to the extent of 72%, said a report titled Shared Mobile Infrastructure Scheme tabled in Parliament.

The panel headed by Congress Lok Sabha member K V Thomas prepared the report after studying the Shared Mobile Infrastructure Scheme launched by the Department of Telecom in 2007, to provide mobile connectivity to remote areas. As per the scheme, there was a provision of provide subsidy to setting up and managing 7,353 infrastructure sites in remote areas. Each site was to be shared by three service providers to provide mobile services in uncovered areas.

Though several difficulties like diverse location, remote and tough terrain, lack of proper infrastructure, insurgency had been cited by the DoT for poor quality of services in remote areas, these excuses were not acceptable, the report said.

The panel also said that there were deficiencies the scheme including defective subsidy support to telecom companies and ineffective penal clauses in service level agreement, non existence of clauses to safeguard Department of Telecom against defaulting infrastructure providers and mobile service providers.

The panel also suggested the Department of Telecom to take action against the those responsible for non-implementation of green towers under the scheme.

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