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Millennium Post

Clears Rs 5,300-cr telecom infra project for North-East

'The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, gave its approval for implementing a Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for the North-Eastern Region (NER). The proposal entails an estimated expenditure of Rs. 5,336.18 crore (inclusive of all applicable taxes except octroi and local taxes),' an official statement said.

The project envisages providing 2G mobile coverage in identified uncovered areas and seamless mobile coverage along National Highways in the North East Region. At present, there are 43,200 villages in this region out of which 9,190 (21 per cent) of the villages are not connected to any mobile network. Under this project, Cabinet has approved covering 8,621 villages by installing 6,673 towers.

The project will also give seamless connectivity to national highways through 321 mobile towers. The plan will be funded from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) in which all telecom operators contribute a part of revenue earned from telephone calls. The fund is used for boosting telecom infrastructure in rural areas.

The government is likely to float tenders to involve telecom companies in the project. The USOF would fund capital and operational expenditure net of revenue for a period of five years.
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