57,271 villages yet to connect with mobile telephony
New Delhi: About 57,271 villages in the country are yet to be connected with mobile services, Parliament was informed Friday.
"About 57,271 villages in the country are yet to be connected with mobile services, as per the survey carried out by TERM Cells of Department of Telecommunication," Minister of State for Communications and IT Milind Deora said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
BSNL has planned to provide connectivity to technically feasible uncovered villages with basic telephone facility by March 31, 2013, he added.
Of the 57,271 villages, Odisha had the highest number of villages uncovered by mobile services (6,734), followed by Chhattisgarh (5,460), Maharashtra (5,394), Jharkhand (5,308) and Uttar Pradesh (5,013), he said.
While Kerala didn't have a single village uncovered by mobile services, only one village in Delhi remains uncovered, Deora said.
A total of 13,438 villages in the country are yet to be connected with basic telephone facility (landline and WLL).
Andhra Pradesh has the highest number of villages without basic telephone facility (landline and WLL) at 2,232 villages, followed by Odisha (1,860), Maharashtra (1,669), Chhattisgarh (1,552) and Gujarat (1,012), he said.
There have been delays by private operators as well as by BSNL in launching their mobile services under Shared Infrastructure Scheme of USOF, he added.
The Minister said financial penalties have been imposed on companies for delay in rollout of services as per the provisions of the agreement(s) signed with concerned company.
"Apart from above, Reliance Communications (RCom) and Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) switched off their mobile Base Transreceiver Stations (BTSs) at 1,191 and 228 USOF supported sites respectively causing suspension/interruption of mobile services in concerned areas during November 2010 to February 2011," said.
A financial penalty of Rs 4.63 crore has been imposed and recovered from RCom and Rs 1.07 crore from RTL for the period of interruption, in accordance to provisions of the agreement signed by USOF with these companies, he said.