Dhaka, Nov 3 (bdnews24.com) – GrameenPhone’s coverage beyond Bangladesh’s boundary has forced the Indian government to deploy cellular mobile network in the neglected northeastern states, reports Kolkota-based The Telegraph Friday.
The Indians along the Bangladesh border in Meghalaya and other north-eastern states “are forced to use prepaid cards of GrameenPhone, the largest cell phone service provider of Bangladesh, paying ISD call rates.”
People without mobile phones cross the border and use Bangladeshi phone booths and they pay hefty amounts of international tariff to call own country, the report alleges.
Villagers have complained to the Telegraph correspondent that the Indian government does not provide them basic telecoms facilities on the pretext of security.
India’s state-owned telecoms major, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), has now decided to launch cell-phone services in areas bordering Bangladesh soon after receiving the ministry of communications’ written order.
BSNL does not provide mobile phone service in the rebellious north-eastern areas due to Indian home ministry’s objection to deploy the networks within 10 kilometres of border with Bangladesh border, fearing exploitation by the region’s militant groups.
“As long as everybody gets access to some network, what difference would it make whether it is Indian or Bangladeshi?” questioned a senior BSNL official to The Telegraph.
The BSNL’s Meghalaya telecoms district general manager, R Ramesh, said they were hopeful of receiving New Delhi’s nod in “black and white” within a week. “We will start erecting equipment once we receive the green signal,” he said.
BSNL would then commence services in Mahendraganj, Phulbari and Bajengdoba in the Garo Hills. Remaining areas of the state would soon be brought under the new network’s coverage, the Telegraph said.