Asserting that the Centre has sanctioned Rs.. 5,600 crore for telecom services in Odisha this fiscal, Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday said 5G services will be launched in the eastern state before the Republic Day celebrations next year. In an apparent reference to the ruling BJD in the state, the minister also said, “now, no one can make an allegation that the Centre is neglecting Odisha’s telecom sector”.
“The Modi government has sanctioned a total of Rs. 5,600 crore for telecom services in Odisha in the 2022-23 fiscal, and 5G services will be launched in the state before the Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2023,” he said.
Vaishnaw, the minister of railways, communications, electronics and information technology, said a survey was recently conducted in all villages of Odisha where mobile towers are not available.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had directed officials to ensure high-quality 4G and 5G services in all villages,” the minister said.
Vaishnaw had in October said that 5G services would be available in at least four cities of Odisha by March 2023, and 80 percent area of the state will have access to the upgraded network by the end of the next year.
PM Modi had on October 1 launched the 5G services that promise to provide ultra high-speed internet on mobile phones.
Vaishnaw was speaking at a foundation stone laying ceremony for the redevelopment of the Bhubaneswar railway station.
Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi, who was also present in the programme, claimed that Odisha has substantially gained from the central government’s policy for auctioning of mines.
“The state’s revenue from the mining sector has touched Rs. 50,000 crore from around Rs. 5,000 crore in 2014-15,” he pointed out.
He also alleged that the states were “unable to garner adequate revenue from mining operations earlier” as a policy of ‘first come first served’ was followed.
Under the District Mineral Foundation (DMF), Odisha gets Rs. 15,000 crore per year, Joshi said, adding that the fund can be utilised for the development of mine areas and the welfare of the poor and tribal people.
The state has also been allocated around Rs. 10,000 crore in the budget for railway infrastructure development in 2022-23, Vaishnaw said.
“The Modi government has raised the allocation for railways in Odisha to Rs. 10,000 crore per annum from only Rs. 800 crore during the UPA regime,” he said, claiming that “critics have no reasons to make the allegation of central negligence to the state’s telecom and railway sectors”.
The minister also said that “railway projects will make progress if the state government cooperates and provides required land”.
Earlier this week, the state, in a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, had approved a proposal to provide 2,000 square feet of land each at 1,687 places to BSNL for 30 years at Rs. 1 per site per annum without any premium and incidental fees.
It will help provide 4G connectivity in 1,792 villages, Odisha Chief Secretary SC Mohapatra had said.
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