ISLAMABAD: The Universal Service Fund (USF) awarded contract worth around Rs1.36 billion to Telenor for providing high-speed mobile broadband 4G services in Chaghi and Nushki districts of Balochistan province.
Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque and Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani witnessed the contract signing ceremony held here on Wednesday.
The contract was signed by Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary, CEO of the USF, with Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO of Telenor Pakistan.
Senator Naseebullah Bazai, Federal Secretary for IT and Telecom and Chairman USF Board, Dr Muhammad Sohail Rajput, Member Telecom, Muhammad Omar Malik, Chairman PTA Major General Amir Azeem Bajwa (retired), and the VP for Government Sales, Super Net Limited, Imran Akhtar Shah were also present at the ceremony.
While speaking on the occasion, Haque said the Digital Pakistan vision was all about bringing Pakistan closer together, ensuring that all parts of the country benefit from securing the jobs and opportunities of the future.
People in Balochistan should not have to choose between their career and the way of life in their hometown. With high-speed broadband, we can ensure that people in Chaghi and Nushki districts are able to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented by the digital economy, from healthcare to education, rural development, and tourism.
This project is a stepping stone to create equality of service across the country.
Furthermore, he congratulated the teams of the USF and Telenor for achieving this significant milestone.
“This project in Balochistan will benefit an unserved population of 0.16 million in 170 unserved mauzas, thereby, covering an unserved area of 47,872 sq km. of Chaghi and Nushki districts,” the IT minister added.
Haque said that following this project, the total number of projects for 14 districts of Balochistan at a cost of Rs8.43 billion has increased to 11.
The completion of these projects will benefit more than 2.2 million people from 2,024 villages of Bolan, Jaffarabad, Mastung, Ziarat, Kichh, Panjgur, Gwadar, Pishin, Qila Abdullah, and surrounding areas.
The federal minister said the work of providing uninterrupted mobile services to the commuters on the highways and motorways of Balochistan is in full swing.
Under which, the project of providing mobile service on 701km highway from NH25 to NH10 has been completed at a cost of Rs759 million.
While projects worth Rs250 million on 650km highway from NH25 to NH65 and more than Rs410 million on 451km highway from NH50 to NH70 are under completion.
Addressing the ceremony, Sanjrani said that 4G internet connectivity in Balochistan will bring tangible benefits for households, businesses, and the government, as it connects people to information and improves the quality of life.
He also highlighted the federal government’s resolve and commitment to promote and support the initiatives to enhance Pakistan’s technological capacity to develop and produce a globally competitive ICT industry.
Sanjrani hoped that modern technology would play an important role in bringing Chaghi and Noshki districts of Balochistan province on the digital map of the world.
He added that Balochistan still lags far behind other provinces in technology and infrastructure projects.
The chairman Senate thanked all the stakeholders for their contribution in this very important project.
He congratulated the people of Chaghi and Noshki districts on introduction of speed mobile broadband 4G services in the area.
The chairman Senate said that “Huge investments are being made in technology and digitization all over the world. Information and communication technologies have revolutionized every aspect of our lives, be it personal or professional. The socio-economic future of the entire world now depends on fast digital communication. The USF and Telenor’s digitization partnership will help bring backward areas on par with modern areas and provide unprecedented opportunities to local population”.
The Senate chairman informed the participants that a university is also being set up in Dalbandin, Balochistan.
The Senate chairman said that access to modern technology provides an opportunity for the young generation to seek education and vocational training to be a part of the national digital revolution.
The availability of high-speed online digital access to health, education, agriculture, trade and governance, and other sectors is a matter of urgency.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021