BSNL connects 5.5 lakh villages with public telephones

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New Delhi, Aug 25 (UNI) The government has provided Village Public Telephones (VPTs) in about 54,700 uncovered villages under Bharat Nirman Programme through subsidy support from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).

With this, the State owned BSNL has provided telephones to five and half lakh villages across the country. The telecom giant has also brought 30,500 villages under the reach of Broadband, an official release said today.

The target under Bharat Nirman is to provide subsidised public telephone facility to 66,822 uncovered villages. Remaining VPTs are likely to be provided by the end of the current year.

The scheme covers all villages except those having population of less than 100, those lying in deep forests and those affected with insurgency. It is being carried out under agreements signed by DOT with BSNL in November 2004. Provision of VPTs is included as one of activities under the Centre's Bharat Nirman Programme.

About 5,000 remotely located villages are being provided with VPT using satellite technology: Digital Satellite Phone Terminals (DSPTs).

Some of the VPTs, which were initially proposed to be provided on DSPTs, are being delivered through the wireless coverage now available in these villages on account of network expansion.

Maximum numbers of villages covered so far under the scheme are from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Following are the statistics for each state with total number of uncovered villages and VPTs provided in paranthesis: Andaman and Nicobar (0 and 0), Andhra Pradesh (1074 and 671), Assam (8931 and 8673), Bihar (0 and 0), Jharkhand (1694 and 1504), Gujarat (4144 and 4048), Haryana (0 and 0), Himachal Pradesh (1002 and 914), Jammu and Kashmir (1755 and 1379), Karnataka (0 and 0), Kerala (0 and 0), Madhya Pradesh (11894 and 11808), Chhatisgarh (5043 and 3325), Maharashtra (6441 and 5946), Meghalaya (1957 and 311), Mizoram (96 and 60), Tripura (75 and 69), Arunachal Pradesh (646 and 285), Manipur (876 and 507), Nagaland (28 and 19), Orissa (4899 and 1643), Punjab (0 and 0), Rajasthan (12386 and 11291), Tamil Nadu (0 and 0), Uttar Pradesh (East) (0 and 0), Uttar Pradesh (West) (0 and 0), Uttaranchal (3881 and 2182) and West Bengal (0 and 0).

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