Assam orders study on internet connectivity with Coz Bazar in Bangladesh

Guwahati: Assam government has roped in an international IT Services Company, Orange Business Services Limited to help it carry out a feasibility study for internet connectivity with Cox Bazar in Bangladesh for reliable and cheaper broadband internet in the Northeast.

The senior consultant to Assam government on National E-Governance Programme, Mukunda Pujari, while speaking at the NICT 2013 here on Saturday, said work order to the firm would soon be issued to carry out the feasibility study within 12-months.

‘Direct connectivity with Cox Bazar will help us provide bandwidth services to IT companies at 20 to 25 per cent cheaper rates. It will help us improve our connectivity and attract investment as well,’ Pujari said.

Pujari was speaking on the topic, Digital Northeast -the way forward on the second and concluding day of the NICT 2013, organised here by The Telegraph.

The Northeast, at present is linked with the Mumbai and Chennai international gateways, which is 2,700-kms away through the narrow Siliguri corridor in West Bengal.

Assam government in 2011 had moved the centre for setting up an internet gateway in Guwahati with connectivity from Cox Bazaar, which is 470-kms away from the region.

The state government said the gateway was necessary to attract investment in IT sector here, which is yet to pick up due to poor internet connectivity.

The present connectivity often gets disrupted due to problem in the chicken’s neck through which the region is connected with rest of the country.

Once the connectivity is set up, not only will Northeast get better connectivity, we will be able to provide the services to neighbouring country like Bhutan and Myanmar.

Eastern Indian state like Orissa can also avail the benefit from us. The centre, ministry of DONER, NEC and all states of the region should pursue the matter for the connectivity with Cox Bazar, Pujari said.

Pujari said better broadband connectivity for the region was crucial to provide services to companies which would set up their business in the IT Park being set up in Guwahati.

Assam government has sanctioned Rs. 1200 crore for the IT park, which is expected to provide employment to 5,000 youths.

IT expert Jaijit Bhattacharya also emphasised on building IT infrastructure for building a digital Northeast for participatory economy.

‘Northeast and Assam has huge bamboo production and potential for tourism industry. But do we have the network in place to enable our tour guides stay connected with each other? Do we have technological facility to support the bamboo industry like China?’ Bhattacharya said.

Managing director of AMTRON Dinesh Shankar Pegu said literacy about information and communication technology should also be enhanced to bridge the digital gaps in the Northeast.

In the session fuelling the economy through an IT enabled educative drive, N.N. Sarma, director and ONGC chair professor, Assam Institute of Management, said organisations need to penetrate to the rural areas and replicate private sector companies in regard to enabling people to take the advantage of information technology.

Sukumar Nandi, deputy director and Professor, Computer Science & Engineering, IIT, Guwahati, dwelt on IT and IT enabled services sector contributing immensely to the country in economic growth since 1998.

Chairing the session, Amitabha De, director, Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Managament, Shillong, said, the service sector accounts for two-thirds of India’s GDP, of which 9 per cent comes from IT. (UNI)

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