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Govt. mulls setting up BSNL cell to monitor working in border areas

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NEW DELHI: The Government is committed to revive Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and several initiatives are in the pipeline to bring it back to the position of market leader.

Communication and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad directed the Department of Telecom to explore the possibility of setting up a dedicated cell in BSNL to monitor the effectiveness of its network in border areas and also in areas badly affected by extremism. 

Prasad said that the management of BSNL would also regain lost confidence of people by improving services and response.

According to him, BSNL has launched a major initiative to improve quality of signal for which it plans to add another 1150 towers during this fiscal in Bihar alone.

The minister has also asked BSNL to improve services and ensure that better quality of signal is maintained specially in the border and extremism affected areas. Prasad was addressing members of Parliament from the States of Bihar, Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland. The meeting was part of the series of meetings planned to make telecom officials directly answerable to the parliamentary representatives so as to have a firsthand account of public sectors performance, problems faced and possible solutions.

Members of Parliament from the States of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and North Eastern States participated in the first meeting. Prasad directed the Department to call five such meetings so that all members of Parliament are given opportunity to raise issues directly with officials concerned. 

At the meeting, officials were also informed that the public sector, which came into being only in October 2000, has a net worth of Rs 51,203 crore with an equity capital of Rs 12,500 crore only. 

New initiatives taken to improve viability include Wi-FI services, data centre services and introduction of next generation network switching technology. It was pointed out that four million lines in Phase I will have NGN by the end of this fiscal while total number of 14 million ports are planned. 2500 hot spots are planned for the year of which 41 hot spots have already been deployed.  

Interestingly, the meeting took place within days of a meeting held by the Telecom Ministry with private telecom service providers to improve their services, following complaints by Members of Parliament.

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