Proper digital connectivity of all post offices in the country is top priority for the Government, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the Lok Sabha here on Monday.
Replying to questions related to his Ministry, Prasad said the Prime Minister was personally monitoring a host of departments and postal services were one of them.
“The Prime Minister spent about one-and-a half–hours on the postal
departmentand has given suggestions, which will be considered,” he said, in reply to a query by Biju Janata Dal’s Tathagata Satapathy on the status of the banking licence applied for by the postal department.Prasad said there was need for reforms in postal reforms as also upgradation of Grameen Dak Ghar Services, catering to the rural population.
Prasad said the Government’s priority was also to improve BSNL services.
Responding to a question raised by Congress MP Ashok Chavan on poor mobile network in Naxal-affected regions in Maharashtra, Prasad said mobile networks, under the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) scheme in such areas are likely to be set up in 15 months.
A proposal to install mobile towers at 1,836 locations in nine States affected by Left Wing Extremism with funding support from USOF has already been approved, he added.
The Minister said Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) had installed mobile towers at 363 locations for which financial support to meet operational expenses would be provided through USOF.
On a question on lack of diesel supplies to BSNL mobile towers leading to their non-functionality and affecting security, he admitted there were concerns on diesel supply and “there is scope for improvement“.
The idea of using solar power for telecom towers was also being looked into, especially in the hilly regions of North East, Prasad said.