Undersea Cable Project: A&N Administration Clarifies Its Position

Port Blair, Dec 15: The A&N Islands due to its geographical isolation has many constraints. One the major constraint is availability of good quality telecom service between Island and mainland and between different Islands. At present the telecom connectivity provided by the Telecom Service Providers is through Satellite medium. Due to limited availability of satellite bandwidth the quality of telecom services has been found unsatisfactory. The A & N Administration therefore took up with Government of India in 2002 for laying undersea optical fiber cable between Mainland and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

In a press release received here, the Special Secretary, IT has intimated that the proposal was followed up with Government of India at highest level. The Planning Commission, Government of India has accorded in-principle approval for the project of laying undersea optical fiber cable by taking a branch from the existing optical fiber cable laid between mainland India and South East Asia and connecting six islands viz. Port Blair, Havelock, Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Kamorta and Campbell Bay in a ring configuration.

As per Financial Rules, approval of Government of India (Expenditure Finance Committee) is required to implement the project, since the total project cost exceeds Rs 200 crore. Therefore a comprehensive proposal was sent to Department of Telecommunication, Ministry of Communication & IT, Govt of India for obtaining approval of Expenditure Finance Committee. The Department of Telecommunication, Ministry of Communication & IT, GoI forwarded observations raised by different line Ministries. Replies to observation raised by line ministries along with a comprehensive proposal with related papers, documents have been sent to Department of Telecommunication, Ministry of Communication & IT, GoI, in August, 2013.

 

The proposal is being followed up at highest level by A & N Administration for early approval of GoI. Once the proposal is approved by Government of India, A & N Administration will take further necessary action to implement the project by awarding the work to a firm to be selected after due bid process management. As per international practice, implementation of such a project would take 2 years time for its completion from the date of signing of contract, the release added.