BSNL's target before time: Maran

New Delhi: Union communications and IT minister Dayanidhi Maran said that government-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will finish the task of providing rural telephone connections in the targeted number of 66,822 villages before schedule of November 2007.

Out of these 66,822 village public telephones (VPT), 14,183 VPTs are to be provided on satellite-based media and the remaining 52,639 shall be provided on other technologies. As on 30 June 2006, 27,481 uncovered rural villages have been provided with VPTs. Assistance for both capital as well as operational expenditure for these VPTs is being met out of the Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF).

Elucidating on the agenda of the meeting "rural telephony", Maran said that 1,86,872 numbers of VPT which were earlier working on multi access radio relay (MARR) technology and installed before 1 April 2002 are to be replaced by BSNL as most of these were non functional.

Many pacts have also been signed in March 2005 for providing a subsidy for installation
of rural household direct exchange lines (RDELs) to the individual customers in rural areas. The support for these RDELs will be extended to cover 1685 Short Distance Charging Areas (SDCAs).

BSNL has emerged as the successful bidder in 1267 SDCAs of the total tendered SDCAs while Reliance, Tata Teleservices Ltd and TTL (MH) have been successful in 203, 172 and 43 SDCAs.