It should be really sounding unlikely if not unprecedented that so far scores of border villages in Ladakh and even in Jammu and Kashmir have remained bereft of the facility of mobile connectivity.
Previously, there were many villages bordering Pakistan which had no ‘television connectivity’ and high strength signals from across the border were received this end and ”their ” programmes and news watched not out of any choice but out of compulsion and realising the strategic importance of such villages, set-top boxes were distributed among the residents and other necessary logistics provided , of course quite belatedly the process of which was completed only in June 2019. That process resulted in expanding Doordarshan’s terrestrial coverage.
However, in this era of virtual invincibility of mobile phones and realising that there existed hundreds of villages in far flung areas being of strategic importance which had no connectivity at all , the Union Government has recently taken a decision to this effect that mobile phone connectivity to 354 border and remote villages would be provided.
It is heartening to know that among those are 144 such villages to get the facility in the two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir as well as in Ladakh. The villages under reference are bordering China and Pakistan. Other remaining villages are in Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan etc.
The UT of Ladakh was to get such connectivity in 54 villages out of the 144 identified for the two UTs. This includes the Dhemchok village as well on the Indo-China border. So far as providing mobile towers was concerned, it is learnt that the same would be working through the satellite connections. In other words, no optical fibre cable connection was required and the system was expected to start working within a few months. However, the dream of taking strident leaps to achieve fast connectivity between places is incomplete unless villages falling in far flung and remote areas were covered and taken on board.
Perhaps, referring to that prerequisite of all encompassing connectivity, Union Minister of Electronics and IT referred to the ”measures on priority” being taken in this regard by the Government so as to benefit the hitherto deprived people in such villages by providing connectivity and thus ensuring better quality of life to them as also to those working in such areas.
Since agreeably it is quite easy to say about it as compared to be in a position to make it happen for which various projects, therefore, are reported to be in the implementing stages . However, it is a matter of satisfaction that after the connectivity, as proposed, takes place , there would remain no village in both the Union Territories which would remain uncovered.
The connected issue about the security forces like the BSF, CRPF, ITBP and even Army units posted at places still farther from such villages in respect of the mobile connectivity, has been resolved by means of providing Satellite based Digital Satellite Phone Terminals (DSPTs) at 1347 sites out of which 183 are already commissioned while others are in the process of completion. This was going to take care of their needs in connecting homes and relatives on an assured basis.
Like electrification of villages , the bulk of which were not in a position to see an electric lamp and are now having the much required basic facility , in the same way thousands of villages are still not connected with mobile phones , the number of which is stated to be as much as 27721 as per the census of 2011. It is learnt that with fast laying of optical fibre cable , connectivity would be not only wide spread but faster also.