Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will do its best to keep the connectivity maintained in spite of ‘naxalite attacks' on mobile towers, Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology Sachin Pilot said here on Saturday. On his day-long visit to the city, he reviewed BSNL's Western Maharashtra operations.

“I have visited parts of Jharkhand and Bihar and I have observed that a lot of times, Naxalites target mobile towers. That is why it is important for the ministry to devote more infrastructure towards these areas. The attacks will not deter BSNL from putting up towers in the affected region, and connectivity will never be compromised,” he told journalists at a meeting held at the BSNL head-office here. Satellite phones will be provided, as and when the need arises, in remote areas, he added.

Mr. Pilot also stated that the Centre will now follow World Health Organisation's safety limit on electromagnetic field exposure. “Though there is no conclusive evidence on how hazardous radiation from mobile towers can be, we will follow the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines which have been adopted by WHO,” he said. All mobile phone companies have been asked to get their towers self-certified by November 15, and the onus will be on the operators. The companies that are found to be guilty of not complying with the limits will be fined Rs. 5 lakh per tower, he added.

The minister also conducted a meeting in CDAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing) and addressed seminars in Symbiosis Institute of International Business and in MIT School of Governance.

Talking about his meeting in CDAC, he said that the organisation is involved in a process that ensured that e-governance could reach all parts of the country. “A special software of fonts in 22 languages has been developed and 11 lakh free CDs will be distributed,” he informed.

On being asked how the North-east of India would benefit by the package, he said, “A majority of people in the North-east know English and Bengali. I am sure they will make use of it.” He emphasised that the ministry was doing its best to ensure that technology is not limited to the cities. “All those who are not connected with the mainstream, the villagers, the tribals and the economically underprivileged, will be paid attention to,” he said.

“The e-governance concept will make the last-mile delivery easy,” he stated. In the government's e-district pilot project, 35 districts have been selected, which include Pune, Nagpur and Latur from Maharashtra, he stated. The work on this is slated to begin in two months.

Apart from this, the government aims to set up 1 lakh Customer Service Centres (CSC), which will act as a nucleus for types of services.