Bhubaneswar: Biju Janata Dal’s Rajya Sabha MP Dr. Amar Patnaik has urged the Centre to take necessary steps for the improvement of teledensity in Odisha.
The BJD MP wrote a letter to Union Communications, Electronics & Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in this regard.
Patnaik apprised the Union Minister about the teledensity status of Odisha compared to the all-India average as well as in comparison to other states.
As per TRAI data released in January this year, the all-India average teledensity was 91.82%. In other words, nearly 92 out of every 100 persons were using telephones in the country. However, the teledensity rate in Odisha was only 77.22%. Thus, in Odisha, 23 in every 100 persons were not using telephones, the BJD MP said.
In contrast, the teledensity rate in Delhi was 237, 147 in Himachal Pradesh, 126 in Punjab, 126 in Kerala & 117 in Tamil Nadu. What is distressing is that as per the latest TRAI report released two days ago, this rate has further gone down to 75.65% compared to the position in January, 2019 whereas the teledensities in other states have gone up with Delhi recording a high of 240.53 percent, he mentioned in the letter.
“Odisha occupies 15th position from amongst all the larger states. What is worse, the quality of basic as well internet services is still worse in many remote areas of Odisha, so much so, that people have to climb up trees to get connected”, Patnaik said.
The BJD MP further said that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has now made “5T” as the cornerstone of his administration. The 5T’s are transparency, teamwork, technology, time & transformation.
“As technology is a key ingredient of transforming people’s lives, access to information relating to all the food security and universal health coverage schemes besides plans for women self-help groups like Mission Shakti etc. can be greatly enhanced only if people can use telephones in remote & far-flung areas”, he wrote.
Recently, the state health department introduced new measures to address urgent medical needs of people through social media. But for this, people need mobile networks to post messages in the designated social media handles.
Nearly 10,000 villages in Odisha have no access to mobile networks. Most of these villages are located in LWE-affected districts. Nearly 50% of villages in Kandhamal, Koraput, Malkanagiri & Rayagada districts have no access to mobile networks. This includes 1652 villages in Kandhamal, 1020 in Koraput, 601 in Malkangiri and 1498 villages in Rayagada district, Patnaik further stated.
The BJD MP requested the Union Minister to bridge the digital divide among the districts expeditiously.
He also urged the Union Minister to take urgent steps so that the implementation of 5Ts to transform people’s lives does not suffer due to lack of access to the bare minimum technology support for a common man, which is a mobile phone.
The teledensity in odisha has to reach the national average by putting in place an effective implementation/execution plan, he added.