The Government of India has constituted a Committee to review telecom services in Sikkim under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Sikkim and Principal Director, Department of Information Technology, Government of Sikkim as the Member Secretary.
The committee held its 4th meeting under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary on 16th June 2012 at the Conference Room, Chintan Bhawan.
The Chief Secretary, Karma Gyatso, expressed his concern over the connectivity issues prevailing in the state particularly in the North District areas. He mentioned that because of the unreliable connectivity office works are suffering and also rolling out of e-governance initiatives is being difficult. The Chief Secretary directed BSNL to visit the problem areas and set actual timelines for completion of the proposed plans for improving the connectivity in the State. The Chief Secretary during the meeting directed the members to constitute a Sub-Committee at the district level respectively consisting of the District Collector and representatives from Energy & Power Department, Roads & Bridges Department, Forest Department, Department of Information Technology, BSNL, N.I.C and Border Roads Organization.
The Member Secretary, Rajesh Verma informed that the connectivity is now set to improve as the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. has laid the Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) from Siliguri to Ranipool on their high tension pylons and have been taken upto Gangtok.
The member Secretary also informed that the Government of India has established a Special ‘Purpose Vehicle called the Bharat Broad Band Network Ltd (BBNL) which would be laying an intricate National Optical Fiber Network in the country including Sikkim upto the Gram Panchayat Unit level.
The General Manager, BSNL informed that 2G BTS at Kewzing bazaar, Bageykhola and Baluter (NHPC) and 3G BTS at Baluter (NHPC) have been commissioned. Blocks have been connected via Optical Fiber Cable (OFCs), two on Microwave and one on Mini Link. BSNL also informed that five WiMaX BTS have been commissioned at Zoom, Namthang, Chuater Village, Mangan & Rumtek. Redundant Microwave link have been provided to Namchi and Gyalshing and Mangan will also be provided soon. The BSNL have given assurance to give more Direct Satellite Phone Terminals (DSPTs) to the Army and remote areas. The State government in principal has agreed to provide BSNL land at Chungthang SDM for setting up of telecom infrastructure which was displaced during the September earthquake. The meeting also discussed the issues faced by the Army, Border Roads Organization and Banks.
The Chief Secretary during the meeting mentioned the need to have alternate routes and advised BSNL to work towards it. He advised the agency to adopt measures that would prevent snapping of telecommunication cables during road widening and repair taking into account the prevailing monsoon.
The meeting was also attended by the Director General of Police, Government of Sikkim, Secretaries from Government of Sikkim, senior officials from BSNL, Department of Telecommunication, Government of India and New Delhi, General Manager, Reserve Bank of India, Gangtok, Inspector General of Police, Communication, Gangtok, the Army, Border Roads Organization, District Collector and Sub-Divisional Magistrate, North District