Union Telecom Secretary, Aruna Sundararajan, today chaired a meeting to review extending high-speed internet connectivity to Gram Panchayats in the State and the steps required for augmentation of the already existing infrastructure.Advisors to Governor K.K Sharma and K. Skandan, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, Additional Union Secretary Telecommunication Ansuli Arya, Principal Secretary Finance A.K Mehta, Principal Secretary I&C Navin K Choudhary, Commissioner Secretary PDD Hirdesh Kumar, Secretary RDD Sheetal Nanda, Secretary IT Saugat Biswas and representatives of all telecommunication companies were present in the meeting.Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam briefed the Union Secretary regarding the connectivity scenario in the State. He informed that there are 4483 GPs in 6553 villages across the state. The number of GPs to be covered in Phase-I through Optical fibre cabling is 368 and 281 are covered till date, while in Phase-II 4100 would be connected.The meeting was told that as per the survey completed in August 2018 of the 6553 villages 749 villages were yet to get mobile connectivity.It was informed that according to DoT, in Jammu and Kashmir presently 6210 villages have got mobile connectivity and 127 villages are yet to be covered.It was further given out that in 5959 villages fibre cabling has been laid from at least one Telecom Company and 378 villages are yet to get fibre connectivity and 11 villages are connected through VSAT.
Threadbare discussion was held on improving telecom connectivity to the Gram Panchayats, Border areas and Ladakh region. Various issues including connectivity to Gram Panchayats, fibre connectivity, telecom policy and issue related to the clearance process for installation of towers and fibre in the state was also discussed.Union Secretary also sought details regarding the challenges faced by the telecommunication service executing agencies and directed that the state government constitute a team to identify village in every Gram Panchayat for installation of fibre cables for better connectivity.She added that the Government of India will also formulate a team who will work in close coordination with the state nodal team to resolve the issues regarding the installation of fibre cables. She added that all telecommunication operators have already assured to provide their services on priority to the state.She also stressed for formulating a telecommunication friendly telecom policy to address the core issues regarding Right of Work (ROW) installation of towers, fibre, clearance issues, besides improving connectivity to the border areas, tourist destinations, near water bodies and uncovered area in the state.Advisor K.K Sharma said that the already existing power infra like towers and other allied things could also be used for the purpose of providing the requisite support material for telecom cable as well as fibre. He said that the executing agencies and telecom operators should also work in coordination with PDD so that a mechanism can be worked out for utilization of these towers etc.Addressing the meeting Advisor K. Skandan said that improved connectivity to the Gram Panchayats in the state for the provision of both bandwidth and dark fibre will have a positive impact on GDP growth besides providing quicker, transparent and cost-effective governance to the people.