Survey plan approved for 4G connections in restricted areas

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has been given permission by the Gujarat Forest Department to conduct an evaluation in order to provide 4G connection to 550 villages located within environmental areas, national parks, and animal sanctuaries.

The responsible principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), N Srivastav, approved the survey on Saturday.

In accordance with the Department of Telecommunications, Government of India, BSNL has been told to survey, deploy, and commission 4G mobile services in unconnected villages, according to officials of the forest department.  According to the letter, only BSNL officers and authorised organisations are permitted entry to these villages.

Another letter addressed to the Gir East deputy conservator of forests requests authorization to examine 29 villages in the Gir-Somnath area.

This, the officer explained, applies to all wildlife sanctuaries and eco-sensitive areas. Towers and solar panels will be installed by BSNL to supply electricity. The list includes the names of agencies that are found inside such sanctuaries. However, some of them are completely depopulated. For instance, Lerar is a region where there are no people.

A private telecommunications business was given the authorization to run in the Gir sanctuary in January. However, the corporation declared its withdrawal from the project in response to complaints. This is the second attempt to put cell phone towers in state parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

There are 23 animal sanctuaries and four national parks in the state, including Gir National Park and Marine National Park.