Govt allows to erect mobile towers within 500m of intl border



Barmer: The Department of Telecom has decided to permit mobile towers within 500-meter of international border in a bid to counter incoming signals from neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh.

"Earlier, the rule was not to have any mobile tower within 10 km of international border, but we observed that signal of other countries are entering our border areas in North-East, Rajasthan and Gujarat. But now anyone can place the tower with permission within 500 mtr of the border," Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot told reporters here on Sunday.



The minister, on the last leg of his three-day visit to border districts of Rajasthan, said "we will improve our signal strength in the border areas as it is important from the security point of view."

On reports of Pakistani mobile network being used near the border areas of Jaisalmer and Bikaner, he said "We have taken strict action whenever we came across the incident of people using Pakistan mobile network in the border areas.

Ministry of Home, Defence and Department of Telecom are working together to counter such activities."

Launching a scheme called 'Rakshak', Pilot said it offers facility to Central Paramilitary force jawans to stay connected with their families over mobile phones in any part of the country without spending a paise on call charges.

"Rakshak scheme has been launched especially for the jawans of CPMF. By paying a nominal charge of Rs 299 monthly, they will get two SIM cards, one of which he can give it to the family and the other he can keep it with himself in his place of posting. There will be no charge on the calls made between the two SIM cards," Pilot said.

On BSNL subscribers switching to private mobile operators after the launch of mobile number portability and decline in firm's revenue, the minister accepted "In the last two years revenue has gone down, and profitability and volume have decreased."

"But profit is not the only motive for BSNL. It helps is fulfilling social responsibility for the government....Private firms go to big cities to make profit and they may not bet for remote and Naxal affected areas like the North-East, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. Only BSNL provides services there," he told reporters in Jaisalmer.

Pilot said BSNL is working to improve its services so that subscribers do not desert the firm. "A new CMD will soon be appointed and all required changes will be done. In a big company like BSNL profit and loss keep happening."

He also inaugurated head post offices in several border districts to improve postal network in these areas.

PTI