New Delhi: The Telecom Commission will soon meet to clear a demand made by state-owned BSNL for additional capital expenditure of Rs5,503 crore to complete the alternate communications network it is building for the country's armed forces, reports suggest.
The Commission is the apex decision-making body of the communications ministry.
BSNL's fresh demand is over and above the Rs8,098 crore already approved by the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure. The completion of this project will result in the armed forces moving their communication requirements to this network, thus freeing airwaves for commercial telephony.
The defence services vacated 3G frequencies in August 2010 after being assured by the Centre that the telecoms department would rollout an alternate network within two years.
Subsequently, BSNL submitted a revised estimate of Rs13,334 crore for this network on 12 August 2011. Additionally, BSNL said it would have to spend about Rs267 crore on maintenance over a two-year period, taking the total cost to Rs13,601 crore.
The ministry of defence, concerned over the slow pace of construction of the alternate network, has stated repeatedly that the project must be completed at the earliest as it was of critical importance to the nation.