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Benefits of 5G service will only reach urban areas of Odisha: BJD MP Amar Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: Rajya Sabha MP of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Amar Patnaik on Thursday said that the rural tele-density in Odisha is only 62.73 per cent and hence the benefits of the Centre-launched 5G services will only reach the urban areas and the rural areas will be deprived of it.
"As per the latest report of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) (August 31, 2022), the overall tele-density of Odisha is 75.23 per cent which is within the bottom five of all Indian States. Even the northeast has a higher tele-density at 77.98 pc and J-K at 88.18 pc. The national average is 85.11 pc. So you can imagine that when there is not even access to telephone services, talking about the introduction of 4G or 5G services in such a state is only tall talk. It will further exacerbate the digital inequity between the states. The rural tele-density in Odisha is only 62.73 pc, therefore, the benefits will come only to urban areas and not to rural areas," Amar Patnaik said addressing a press conference in Bhubaneswar. Patnaik made these remarks as he was talking with the media about the 5G launch and stressed upon issues faced by the people due to the deficit in tele-density, internet density and services in the state, especially in the rural areas.
He said that the governance model of the Odisha government, under the leadership and direction of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, is based on the 5T framework whose one of the pillars is 'Technology'.
"It is in this spirit that we welcome all kinds of beneficial technology and have ourselves adopted it widely for bringing about transformation in various fields like agriculture, health, education, transportation and communication etc. But while doing so, we have been facing serious issues of deficit in tele-density and internet density and services in the state, particularly in the rural areas," Amar Patnaik said alleging that the Centre would not address the core issues of the mentioned deficits despite their cooperation in the launch of 5G services.
He further added that the internet subscription for 100 people in the rural areas of Odisha stand at 34.51 per cent and at 88.98 pc for urban areas. Out of 310 Gram Panchayats in Kalahandi district alone, 81 Gram Panchayats don't have internet connectivity," he said.
"The Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput (KBK) Region is a cluster of eight tribal districts in Odisha. Seven of these districts are a part of aspirational districts of NITI Aayog, but most of these suffer even lower tele-density despite their historical backwardness," he said mentioning that out of 51,311 villages in the State, 11,000 villages do not have mobile connectivity, of which 10,000 villages come under Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas. 6278 villages in Odisha are still without any mobile access or connectivity - the largest number in the country.
He claimed that 2,500 mobile-based towers will be required to provide coverage to the uncovered villages in the State, but only 488 have been sanctioned as of now which means 2000 more mobile-based towers are required.
This is affecting banking services, education and health services to the people living in these areas.
Instead of concentrating on improving this picture, introducing new 5G services will not ameliorate this condition of denial of improved services and benefits to the rural people of Odisha, most of whom are tribal, the Rajya Sabha MP said.
"Also, the quality of 5G services wherever it has been introduced, even in Delhi, is far below projections. I don't get it even around the Parliament," he added.
"While we welcome the introduction of 5G services, the Government of India would do well to concentrate more on improving tele-density and internet connectivity (both in numbers and quality) in the rural areas of Odisha, particularly in the 10 districts where most of the people are tribal so that benefits of 5G technology are available to these who deserve it the most, he continued.
Notably, Union Minister of Railways, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology on December 29 said that the Centre has sanctioned Rs 5,600 crore for Telecom services in Odisha and promised to launch 5G services in state before the Republic Day celebration this year.
"The Modi government has sanctioned a total of Rs 5,600 crore for telecom services in Odisha, and 5G services will be launched in the state before the Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2023," he said.
Reliance Jio on Thursday launched its 5G services in Odisha - starting with Bhubaneswar and Cuttack in the presence of Union Minister of Communications Ashwini Vaishnaw and Union Minister of Education, and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan. (ANI)

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