Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Apr 10:
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today sought expeditious clearance of the IT Investment Region proposed to be set up in Bhubaneswar at a cost of Rs 3,700 crore and provide full broadband connectivity to 16 districts in the state by the end of this year.
During a meeting with Union Communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Chief Minister also technical support from NIC for the an exclusive portal being developed by the state government for the ensuing Nabakalebara festival in July this year and a commemorative stamp marking the celebration.
A high-powered committee headed by the Union cabinet secretary had cleared the ITIR proposal on July 6, 2012 while the proposal for the electronic manufacturing centre (EMC) at Infovalley in Bhubaneswar was granted in-principle approval in July 2014.
Pointing out that the state government had already agreed to the proposed changes in the ITIR policy resolution and had submitted the detailed project report (DPR) for the EMC project, Patnaik urged Prasad to give approval to these two important projects at the earliest.
“I had a very fruitful discussion with the Union minister and urged him to grant early approval for the setting up of an Information Technology investment region at Bhubaneswar entailing a cost of Rs 3,700 crore. I also requested him to direct Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL) to ensure full connectivity to 16 districts comprising 3,298 gram panchayats by December 2015 and connectivity to the remaining districts by December, 2016 under the National Optical Fibre Network Project (NOFN),” Patnaik told reporters after the meeting.
It may be noted that BBNL, which was supposed to have provided broadband connectivity to all 3, 298 panchayats in the 16 districts covered under the first phase of NOFN by March 31, 2015, has been able to cover just 150 panchayats and has sought an extension of the deadline till December 31, 2015.
The Chief Minister also discussed setting up of Software Technology Parks (STPIs) in Angul, Jajpur and Sambalpur and urged the Union minister to provide detailed guidelines and funding pattern necessary to implement the Digital India Programme.
“The issues flagged by the Chief Minister were discussed. As far as IT investment region is concerned, the cabinet has asked to revisit the entire policy in consultation with the state government. We are doing that. On electronic cluster, we have already given in-principle approval. I will be happy to see the electronic cluster being established in Odisha. Certain issues need to be clarified by the state government and the Chief Minister has promised me to do so. I have also assured the Chief Minister to look into the issue of optical fibre connectivity,” said the Union minister.