India’s Uttarakhand villagers relying on Nepal’s mobile towers for connectivity

Khabarhub

July 5, 2020

3 MIN READ

India’s Uttarakhand villagers relying on Nepal’s mobile towers for connectivity

(Image for Representation)

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PITHORAGARH: Thousands of locals have complained that there are no Indian mobile towers within several kilometres of Uttarakhand’s Vyas Valley and have to depend on Nepal’s infrastructure to connect to the world outside.

A resident of Kuti village of the Valley, Kunwar Singh Kutiyal said he noticed that the Nepal’s government recently provided Wi-Fi facilities in Changru village on its side of the border to strengthen communication for their security personnel deputed at a post there.

“We also need such facilities in our villages. We need to depend only on Indian communication facilities,” he said.

Kutiyal is not a lone voice pressing this demand. He represents thousands of villagers of three localities — Vyas Valley, Chaundas valley and Dharchula sub-division — in this district who have no connectivity due to the lack of Indian mobile towers, PTI reported.

Some of them somehow manage to procure Nepalis SIM cards and use them to get Internet and phone connectivity by latching onto Nepalese network.

“Around 40,000 villagers in about 40 villages in these localities have no connectivity. Around 3,000 of them rely on Nepal’s Internet connection,” Dharchula Sub-Divisional Magistrate AK Shukla said, PTI quoted.

He said that poor connectivity also hampers implementation of flagship government schemes in the border villages.

“Due to the lack of proper network facilities in most parts of Dharchula sub-division, payments related to MGNREGA works cannot be made to the beneficiaries nor can online classes be held in sub-divisional schools,” Shukla said.

“We need a strong and dependable network for communication at Dharchula border with Nepal,” the SDM said.

Villagers have approached the administration several times in the past with the demand to bolster mobile network infrastructure and submitted a number of memorandums, Shukla said.

There is just one low-capacity BSNL mobile tower at Dharchula which barely meets even the town’s requirements, he said.

According to residents of the Vyas Valley, three Nepali mobile companies cover around 186 km length (north-south), from Kalapani to Pancheshwar, with their mobile towers at different locations.

According to Krishna Garbiyal, a resident of Garbiyang village in Vyas Valley, they get strong Nepalese network up to 15 km inside Indian territory.

MS Waldia, a retired army colonel, said Indian citizens using Nepal’s SIM cards.

“As soon as the survey gets completed, work on installing towers will be started,” Tamta said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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