In the eastern Ladakh region, zero border villages have gotten mobile connectivity for the first time in 70 years. Merak and Khakted villages on the southern side of Pangong Tso got mobile connectivity after years of no service at all, on Monday.
Villagers could be seen singing and dancing to celebrate the initiative. In a video tweeted by Member of Parliament Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, a villager can been seen speaking on a mobile phone while people surrounding him are seen rejoicing with loud cheers.
Initiative led by BSNL
The MP, in his tweet, also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad, telecommunication service BSNL, councillor of Chushul constituency Konchok Stanzin and Chief Executive Councillor Tashi Gyalson
Under operation Sadbhavana, the Army laid Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) to fulfill the decades-old dream of the villagers to have mobile connectivity. As per All India Radio correspondent, BSNL provided the equipment and Councillor Konchok Stanzin provided solar power systems to the project.
144 villages in J&K, Ladakh have no connectivity
To provide mobile connectivity to 144 uncovered villages in Jammu Kashmir, and Ladakh, the government is implementing an exclusive scheme, telecommunication ministry revealed in its year-ender report published on Jan 11, 2021. Telecommunication ministry in the report said that the government is implementing a scheme to cover more than 354 villages across India including the villages of the two newly created union territories, Ladakh and J&K.
The Union minister said that “providing connectivity to uncovered villages of J&K, Ladakh, and other priority areas, the Government is implementing a scheme to provide mobile services on technology-neutral outcome-based approach in 354 villages.” The announcement was earlier made during the inauguration of submarine Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) last year in August.
“The areas to be covered fall in far-flung places and border areas of strategic importance. This scheme will improve the lives of people including the government official serving in such places,” the report said.
Villages that remain cut off for six months
In June 2020, according to information by Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, fifty four villages in the Ladakh region, which include 19 in Kargil, 11 in Zanskar and seven in Nobra, were set to get the Jio mobile service under the Universal Service Obligation Funding (USOF) scheme. Especially, remote villages such as Yulchung, Neyraks, Linshed, Photoksar, which remain cut off for six months from Leh during the harsh winters, he had said.
Mobile towers would work through the satellite connection not requiring optical fibre cable connection and were expected to function within a few months. Similarly, Leh will get 17 mobile towers, Jamyang had said. IndiaTimes