Telecom infrastructure company VNL has bagged a contract worth Rs 1648 crore from BSNL to set up its telecom towers and other infrastructures in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. Part of the North East connectivity project, this contract will see VNL help BSNL sets up its infrastructure in 4000 remote villages in the two north eastern states.
VNL has emerged as the lowest bidder in the first phase of the tender opened yesterday by BSNL. As per the contract VNL will get whole of Arunachal Pradesh which will be around 70% share of the project.
The remaining 30% of the project was bagged by HFCL that came ass the second lowest bidder at Rs 1970 crore. However, HFCL has to execute the project at the lowest bidding cost i,e at the same value as VNL.
This project is part of the Rs 5,336.18 crore worth Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for the North-Eastern Region (NER) comprising 8 states which was approved by the Union Cabinet in September 2014. The project envisages providing mobile coverage in 8,621 unconnected villages and seamless coverage along National Highways in the North-East region through 6,673 towers, and will be funded from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
Under the Phase-I of the project, which is to be executed by state owned operator BSNL, 2817 sites are to be installed to cover 4118 remotely located villages and tough terrains in Arunachal Pradesh and two districts of Assam. Projects are to be executed solely through indigenous technology. As per the project condition, the lowest bidder, Vihaan Networks (VNL) in this case, will get to roll out around 1,893 mobile towers in Arunachal Pradesh.
As part of the project Eco-friendly green mobile towers will be erected by VNL using its own technology and will be fuelled by solar power.
VNL had also completed successfully a BSNL project last year for creating infrastructure in LWE areas after it bagged the contract as the lowest bidder in December last year for providing voice and data connectivity in the most challenging terrain.
The Union cabinet then chaired by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had accorded an approval to install and maintain 2,199 mobile towers in naxal affected states. Funding came through the USOF (universal service obligation fund) supported scheme.