News Karnataka
Thursday, December 07 2023

BSNL faces tower trouble as forest permissions revoked

WhatsApp Image 2023 09 03 at 4.07.12 PM 1
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Karwara: The picturesque Uttara Kannada district, characterized by its hilly terrain, grapples with a major challenge – network connectivity. Despite the pivotal role networks play in delivering essential services and government projects, the region has been plagued by a lack of connectivity. To address this issue, the Central Government Telecommunication Department sanctioned 232 new mobile towers for the Uttara Kannada district. However, this critical project now faces a significant obstacle.

Of the 232 sanctioned towers, 18 were slated for an upgrade from 2G to 3G technology. The project identified 196 villages devoid of mobile signals and approved tower construction to rectify this problem. Key areas targeted for tower installation included Karwar-8, Ankola-12, Zoida-42, Kumata-19, Honnavar-8, Bhatkala-13, Siddapur-17, Sirsi-24, and Mundagodu-10. The district administration, upon securing approval for new tower construction, was poised to allocate forest land to each taluk at no cost, offering a 30-year lease for tower construction.

However, complications have arisen due to provisions of the Forest Act. DC Gangubai Manakar has rescinded the land sanction orders for six locations in Sirsi and a total of 72 locations across the district in the project’s first phase. This setback has left villages grappling with network issues in a state of crisis even before the towers could be erected.
Among the affected areas, the towers planned for Hulekal , Sampakhand , and Banavasi in Sirsi were abandoned during the construction phase under the DCs order. This setback has been met with disappointment from the villagers , who had eagerly awaited improved mobile network connectivity.

DC Gangubai Manakar explained, that the district administration had allotted land for the construction of towers in 12 parts of the district, primarily in Sirsi Government land had been earmarked for BSNL towers, with 2 guntas of land allocated for each available tower location. However, the forest department has now appealed to the Supreme Court, citing that it falls within the notified protected forest area, leading to the rejection of the sanction.”

The absence of network connectivity in the district has been a longstanding concern, as most government schemes are accessible online. The lack of network access means that many beneficiaries are unable to access these vital programs. In rural areas where television and newspapers are scarce, government initiatives struggle to reach their intended recipients. Consequently, network connectivity is deemed essential.

Local residents have called on both the district administration and the telecommunication department to take swift action in resolving this issue. Those who have endured years without network access and had hoped for its arrival have been left dissapointed by the recent developments.

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