Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005
AP Cabinet okays Rs 400-cr broadband network project
Hyderabad , Jan. 3
ALL villages in Andhra Pradesh will have broadband connectivity at a very low price in two years.
The State Cabinet has approved an Rs 400-crore Andhra Pradesh broadband network project that seeks to connect all mandal headquarters and villages.
A consortium led by Aksh Broadband Ltd of Gurgaon will lay the network in two phases. In the first phase, it would spend Rs 150 crore, enabling it to get an equity participation of Rs 25 crore from the State Government.
In the second phase, the consortium would tap financial institutions.
The consortium comprised Railtel Corporation of India Ltd, Tata Indicom, VSNL Ltd, Incable Network (Andhra) Ltd, Spectranet Ltd and Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd.
Announcing this here at a press conference, Mr Mohammad Shabbir Ali, Minister for Information and Public Relations, said the connectivity would enable people to access Internet and avail themselves of other communication modes at a greater speed.
"About 40,000 Government offices would be latched on to the network, enabling them to deliver citizen services such as e-seva and other Web-based services," he said.
Besides speeding up the process, the connectivity would trigger economic activity.
The proposed connectivity in Andhra Pradesh would offer broadband services with a minimum bandwidth of two mbps. The consortium would charge Rs 300 fee for three months, reducing connectivity charges significantly. The Government would have no role in fixing the tariff.
The Government picked up the consortium from 36 companies who submitted expression of interests and eight final bidders.
Among other major decisions, the Government has agreed to provide water for three major drinking water projects to be started under the aegis of Sri Satya Sai Baba.
These projects costing Rs 820 crore would come up in Anantapur, East and West Godavari districts.
Of these, one project sought to revive the Rs 270-crore project envisaged by Saibaba during the erstwhile regime.
"The earlier Government failed to provide the promised 3 tmc water that made the project defunct," the Minister said.
These approvals came in the wake of the interaction between the Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and Sri Satya Sai Baba on Sunday.
The Cabinet also decided to increase dearness allowance from 31.9 per cent to 34.35 per cent for Government employees with effect from July 1 last.
However, arrears up to December 31, 2004, would be credited to the GPF accounts.
The hike would cost Rs 167 crore more annually.
With regard to Water Users' Associations, the Government would conduct elections next month in nine districts that were left behind.
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