CHENNAI: As many as 6,429 village panchayats in Tamil Nadu are set to get 1 Gbps bandwidth connectivity in a year as the Tamil Nadu FibreNet Corporation Limited (TANFINET) signed Master Service Agreements with two firms — L&T and ITI Limited (owned by the Government of India) — on Wednesday.
The agreements were signed by AK Kamal Kishore, managing director, TANFINET, and representatives of the two firms, in the presence of Minister for Information Technology T Mano Thangaraj at the Secretariat. The two packages of works are to be carried out at a cost of `867 crore (`435 crore for Package III and `432 crore for Package IV).
According to the MoUs signed for packages III and IV, 3,326 gram panchayats in Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Pudukottai, Namakkal, Karur, Coimbatore, Tiruppur, and Tiruchirappalli districts (Package III), and 3,103 gram panchayats in Kanyakumari, Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Theni, Tuticorin, Tirunelveli, Virudhunagar, Tenkasi, Dindigul, and Sivagangai districts (Package IV) will get a minimum of 1 Gbps bandwidth service. After the disposal of pending litigations in packages A and B, the project will be implemented in the rest of the State.
The BharatNet project, to provide high-speed bandwidth connectivity to all 12,525 village panchayats, was delayed by a few years due to various reasons. The cost of the project is `1,815.32 crore and it is to be completed in four packages. Since cases regarding the first two packages are pending in court, the State government is going ahead with the third and fourth packages to avoid any further delay.
“The State government is taking up the project at maximum speed. It is expected to be completed in a year. The project augments the delivery of government services and generates employment in rural areas,” Thangaraj said after the MoUs were signed.
“We started the technological journey to digitise the nervous system of Tamil Nadu through an optical fibre network today. This will not only empower rural Tamil Nadu but also create jobs, opportunities, and growth,” said Information Technology Secretary Neeraj Mittal.
“Chief Minister MK Stalin is devising and implementing schemes for Tier-II and Tier-III cities and rural areas besides schemes to generate employment. The BharatNet project will be an added advantage. With this internet connectivity, one can run a BPO centre in a village,” the minister said, adding that the high-speed internet would be useful for students in rural areas and would help people avail government services easily.