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As India Gears up for 5G, Around 10,000 Villages in Odisha Struggle for Mobile Connectivity

The Odisha consists of a 47,677 inhabited villages as per the Census 2011 of which 9940 villages (20.9 per cent) are still waiting to be connected by the wireless network.

Akash Gulankar | News18.com

Updated:July 26, 2019, 10:35 PM IST
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As India Gears up for 5G, Around 10,000 Villages in Odisha Struggle for Mobile Connectivity
(Representative Image, Reuters)
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New Delhi: As many as 9,940 villages in Odisha still do not have basic mobile connectivity, Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad told Lok Sabha on Friday. Of these, 7,851 villages or 79 per cent fall under districts categorised as Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) declared the list of LWE affected districts in February 2019. Odisha houses 15 such districts as per the records. However, most of these non-connected villages are a part of LWE affected districts. These include Anugul, Balangir, Bargarh, Baudh, Deborah, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabranagapur, Nayagarh, Nuapada, Rayagada, Sambalpur and Sundargarh.

The Odisha consists of a 47,677 inhabited villages as per the Census 2011. Out of these villages, only 37,737 villages (79 per cent) are covered i.e. have mobile network connectivity while 9940 villages (20.9 per cent) are still waiting to be connected by the wireless network.

The total of non-connected villages in LWE affected areas is 7851 villages which accounts for 83.2 per cent of the total non-connected villages. There are 22363 villages in total which fall under the LWE category. Of these villages, 14512 have the mobile or wireless connectivity infrastructure.

As opposed to that, almost 91.7 per cent of the non-LWE affected villages are equipped with the infrastructure for mobile connectivity. Out of these 25,314 villages, just 2089 villages are yet to get the mobile tower connectivity. It accounts for a mere 8.25 per cent of the total non-LWE affected villages.

More than half of the villages in the districts of Kandhamal, Koraput, Malkangiri, and Rayagada do not have the mobile or wireless connectivity, says data. The number of uncovered villages in these districts is 1652, 1020, 601 and 1498, respectively.

More than one-third of the population of Odisha lives in these LWE affected districts, as per the Census 2011. The state has a population of 4.10 crore while 37.5 per cent or 1.53 crore people live in LWE affected districts.

While answering to Lok Sabha question on July 25, Minister of Communications, Ravi Shankar Prasad mentioned that the number of uncovered (non-connected) villages have been reduced to 8776 inhabited villages, as per the recent data. He also referred to the two schemes, LWE Phase II project by MHA and BharatNet Project, being implemented in order to provide/facilitate the mobile and internet connectivity in Odisha.

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