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‘Centre to install OFC in border areas’

Itanagar, May 29: Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said that the Centre is planning to install optical fiber cable (OFC) in all the border areas to mitigate the connectivity problem being faced by both the defence personnel as well as civilian population.

The minister who was here to highlight the achievements of the four-year-old Narendra Modi government, while responding to media questions, said, “We will soon start work on extension of optical fibre cable in those areas and only ten days before the union Cabinet too discussed the issue and sanctioned additional fund.”

“Soon all the border areas along the Indo-China border will be connected with OFC which will greatly improve the mobile and telephone connectivity besides improvement in radio frequency.

She said, during her recent visit to Kibithoo, the last border village in Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh, she was apprised of the situation as to how the people of the area cannot access to All India Radio due to poor frequency but only to Chinese radio frequency besides poor mobile network.
Replying to another question on empowerment of women of border areas by recruiting them in defence forces, the minister said that women in the country are working as fighter plane pilots and the government was trying to recruit them in other areas too.

“Those women who have not got permanent commission SSC has approached the court for their rights and the matter is now sub-judiced. Till the matter is in court,

I cannot bring changes in the policy. However, I am considering how to give permanent commission to women in defence forces,” she added.

When asked on the government stand on media reports about mining activities by China near Arunachal territory, the minister said, “That is perhaps not in our territory and I have to get the details of it… I too saw the report in media and based on that I cannot comment at this point of time.”

When her attention was drawn to the fact that despite Centre’s programme on financial inclusion, many places in Arunachal Pradesh does not have bank branches and people have to travel to other places to get access to banking services, Sitharaman said that for the issue of financial inclusion, it is not necessary to have bank branches in all the places, it is possible through banking mitras who are friends of the banks.

“These banking mitras goes to the villages and do whatever required and extend all banking services to the people,” she added. 

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Ankur Kalita