Posted on June 13, 2020, 2:35 PM IST
The Pithoragarh Administration has decided to give satellite phones to 49 gram pradhans in areas along the China and Nepal border adjoining the district in Uttarakhand which have poor phone connectivity, reports the Times of India.
The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) has provided these phones to the district administration for villagers' use. Many of them depend on Nepalese SIM cards, as telecoms, including state-run BSNL have not set up towers here due to the rough terrain.
District Magistrate of Pithorogarh Vijay Kumar Jogdande said in the report that among the 49 villages, 34 are from Dharchula tehsil and the rest are from Munsyari. He added that 19 satellite phones were given to the gram pradhans of Byas and Darma areas of Dharchula on Friday. According to him, the rest of the phones will also be given soon.
Jogdande said that 15 village chiefs in Munsyari will be provided the satellite phones by Sunday, adding that the phone charges is Rs 12 per minute. One SMS will also cost Rs 12, the report by TOI states. For international calls, villagers will be charged Rs 260 minute and the same amount for one SMS, the DM said.
The satellite phones have been provided to villages in the Byas, Chaudas and Darma valley of Dharchula and Malla Johar valley of Munsyari, TOI reports. Salu Datal from the Datu Village outlined how villagers were eager to use the satellite phones amid their usual communication problems.
Datal said he would rather use his own country's communication network; many people in Dharchula have been using Nepalese SIM cards. However, he said, these are costly.