BSNL, USOF spar over cost estimates as poor connectivity hampers anti-Naxal operations

The ambitious project of the Ministry of Home Affairs to provide seamless mobile connectivity in nine Maoists-affected States has been caught in a tussle between Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and the Universal Service Obligation Fund , a body under the Department of Telecommunications, over cost estimates of installing mobile towers.

Even as Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has urged Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal to expedite the case on an urgent basis in view of growing clashes between Maoists and security forces, BSNL has sought Rs. 5,807 crore for installing and operating 2,199 mobile towers in nine Naxal -affected States .