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Cheaper connectivity solution for Northeast: Nagaland official

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New Delhi: To improve internet connectivity in the northeastern states of India, the Modi government is set to spend Rs 7,000 crore (nearly $1 billion) on laying a fibre optic network. Though, a solution has been devised by a senior government official from Nagaland that may not only cut costs by 75 percent but will also be more effective.

The official, K D Vizo, Nagaland’s commissioner and IT secretary, suggested an alternative technology – a High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) – that can be operated from an unmanned airship or a balloon. This alternative comes at an estimated cost of Rs 1,750 crore, about 25 percent of the Rs 7,000 crore budget earmarked for the northeast out of the Rs 72,778 crore project under the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN).

NOFN has the ambitious objective of providing 2,00,000 gram panchayats with internet connectivity. The project is intended to enable the government to provide e-services and e-applications nationally. A special purpose vehicle – Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) – has been created as a public sector undertaking (PSU) under the Companies Act for executing the project.

“Underground optical fibre, laid in the hilly terrain of the northeastern states, with time has become defunct following landslides and soil erosion, a common phenomenon in the area because of the loose mountainous soil,” Vizo told IANS.

Vizo was recently in Delhi to participate as a resource person in a conclave themed “Connectivity Challenges in the Northeast – Way Forward’. He emphasised that the region has already missed the first industrial revolution, but should not miss the second one, which is all about IT.

The northeastern region is entitled to a 90:10 share under the NOFN project, which is being funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).

“The operating altitude of this system is normal between 17 km and 22 km from the ground because in most regions of the world this represents a layer of relatively mild wind and less turbulence. It can function as an unmanned airship or balloon and it requires only electrical power to keep it and its payload functional,” Vizo explained.

Since HAPS operates at much lower altitudes than satellites, it is possible to cover a small region like the northeastern part of India much more effectively than with a satellite. Lower altitude also means much lower link budget (hence lower power consumption) and smaller round trip delays compared to satellites, he added.

“It is a common phenomenon to see underground optical fibre hanging on trees along national and state highways in the region. In such a situation only a mixture of wireless, satellite and OFC Network can be effective,” Vizo said.

Explaining the advantages of HAPS, Vizo said: “Unlike a satellite, which once launched, does not allow for full maintenance, in the case of HAPS, it can undergo full maintenance. The cost of HAPS is only about a fourth of a normal geosynchronous Equatorial orbit (GEO) satellite.”

Vizo also urged the government to earmark a small budget under the USOF for installing of at least two such systems to cover the northeastern region with wireless broadband.

“If the northeast is to be developed in terms of IT, then the greater focus should be on wireless and satellite technologies as these can be installed faster and are more suitable for the difficult terrain in the region,” Vizo said.(IANS) (image: bandwidthplace.com)

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Arvind Kejriwal Accuses Modi Government of Betraying Farmers

The Modi government was worried more about Ambanis and Adanis, he alleged

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Arvind Kejriwal giving speech suring chanda bandh satyagrah
Modi government betrayed farmers: Kejriwal.

The Modi government has stabbed farmers in the back by telling the Supreme Court that it cannot implement recommendations of the M.S. Swaminathan Commission which the BJP promised to do so in 2014, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday.

Addressing a farmers rally here at Jantar Mantar, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader also slammed the Centre’s crop insurance scheme as a “fraud” and demanded that it be scrapped.

“Soldiers at the borders and farmers at thier farms are in distress. It’s a sad state of affairs. The BJP has dishonoured the promises it made in 2014,” Arvind Kejriwal said.

Thousands of farmers from across the country marched from Ramlila Maidan to Jantar Mantar in the heart of the capital seeking loan waiver and higher crop prices and warning political parties not to ignore their plight.

Reminding the BJP’s promise vis-a-vis the Swaminathan Commission, Kejriwal accused the ruling party of going back on its election promise.

“They have filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court and said they can’t implement it. There can’t be a greater betrayal than this. This government has stabbed farmers in the back,” he said, asking the government to take back the affidavit.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi (Wikimedia Commons)

He warned that if it failed to do so, farmers would teach the saffron party a lesson in the 2019 elections.

Demanding loan waiver for farmers, he also said that they must get fair price for their produce.

“They are not begging but fighting for their rights. Once their loans are waived, they won’t demand it again. The government should also buy the farmers’ produce at appropriate price.”

Also Read- Actress Vidya Balan Urges Children To Indulge in Physical Activities

He blasted the government’s crop insurance scheme.

“This is not an insurance scheme but it is BJP’s ‘kisan daka yojna’ (plunder farmers scheme). This must go and the money paid by farmers be returned. Instead, the government should start a compensation scheme for farmers.”

The Modi government was worried more about Ambanis and Adanis, he alleged. (IANS)