Panaji, July 22 (IANS) Heads of Opposition parties in Goa, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Nationalist Congress Party met Goa Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai to complain about the lack of technical infrastructure, primarily mobile connectivity and to facilitate online education for school students.
Speaking to reporters after meeting the Governor, MGP MLA Sudin Dhavalikar said that students living in remote pockets in the state, were left high and dry with no mobile connectivity especially in areas with hilly terrain like Sanguem, Quepem, Sattari, etc.
"One of the key issues which we raised before the Governor was the lack of infrastructure to conduct online education. Students are suffering because they simply cannot access the Internet in many parts of Goa," Dhavalikar, a former deputy Chief Minister, told reporters.
Dhavalikar also said that students from economically backward sections were also complaining about not being able to purchase mobile phones. "A basic smartphone costs Rs 8,000. Some students have not been able to purchase them. Just because of this, they cannot be kept out of the education loop," Dhavalikar said.
State NCP chief Jose Phillip D'Souza also said that the party had raised the issue of non availability of mobile phone networks in several parts of Goa with the Governor. "Students are suffering for no fault of theirs," he said.
Schools in the state have been shut down due to the Covid pandemic.
The Goa government had already offered several incentives, including slashed rentals, while inviting mobile companies to invest in tower infrastructure in the rural areas, especially blindspots in villages, located in the lower reaches of the Western Ghat mountains.
According to fresh amendments to the Goa Telecom Infrastructure Policy 2020 made earlier this month, companies setting up towers in rural areas will only have to pay 10 per cent of the monthly rent for a period of five years and 25 per cent of the rentals after the first five year period. Currently, mobile companies have to shell out Rs 50,000 per month to set up mobile telephony towers in government property.
Currently 144 applications for setting up mobile towers are pending before the state government.