In a further push to the Centre's Digital India programme, the Tamil Nadu government just before going into elections has cleared a multi-billion dollar digital connectivity Bharatnet project in the state.
The state government has not just cleared the Centre aided project but has also formally notified the same by awarding the tenders for the project in the state. The Bharatnet project is a pan-India broadband connectivity programme funded by the Union government, which looks to connect over 12,000 villages across India with high-speed connectivity.
According to The Union ministry of commerce and industry, the Centre issued a letter to the Tamil Nadu government on February 25, a day before the model code of conduct kicked in, giving a green signal for the project.
“This department has no objection if TANFINET goes ahead with the finalisation of tenders after taking approval of competent authority,” the department for the promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) said in the letter.
The project was earlier stalled twice after DPIIT received complaints from Chennai-based NGO Arappor Iyakkam and a few competing contractors on tender conditions. In the letter, the DoT gave its comments, clarifying doubts and questions raised by various parties regarding issues in the tender such as network system design, the specified configuration of routers, switches, network equipment, eligibility conditions of a single original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for all routers in packages and operating temperature of the equipment.
Based on these clarifications, DPIIT was asked to take a call, which went ahead and asked TANFINET to finalise the contractors.