New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid frictions with China and Nepal over border, India has decided to provide satellite phones to villagers in areas along the China and Nepal border adjoining Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand which have poor phone connectivity, reported The Times of India.

According to a Time of India report, the district administration in Pithoragarh have decided to provide satellite phones to 49 gram pradhans in the area. The satellite phones will be provided by the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF).

According to the report, the satellite phones have been provided to villages in the Byas, Chaudas and Darma valley of Dharchula and Malla Johar valley of Munsyari. The villages in the above areas have very poor phone connectivity because no telecom company has set up mobile towers in the region.

District Magistrate of Pithorogarh Vijay Kumar Jogdande told The Times of India that many of the villagers had to depend on Nepali sim cards for communication while adding that 34 satellite phones will be given villages from Dharchula tehsil.

“On Friday, we gave 19 satellite phones to the gram pradhans of Byas and Darma areas of Dharchula. The rest will also be distributed shortly. On Sunday, 15 village heads in Munsyari will be provided the satellite phones,” he told The Times of India while adding that call charges would be Rs 12 per minute and one SMS would also cost the same amount.    

The DM further said that the villagers will be charged Rs 260 per minute for international calls and the same amount for one SMS.

However, the villagers have told that the cost is a concern for them. Hayat Singh, a gram Pradhan, told Times of India that they had urged Rawat to keep the call rate at Rs 2 for an outgoing call and free for an incoming one while adding that the “current rates were very high for poor villagers”.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma