USF Projects in Some Areas of Balochistan Face Delays

A parliamentary panel was informed on Thursday that Universal Service Fund (USF) was facing delay in projects implementations in some areas of Balochistan due to law and order situation.

Senate’s Sub-Committee of Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication in its meeting sought implementation status of the projects launched by the Universal Services Fund (USF) in Balochistan, FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the problems being faced by USF.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Taj Afridi here on Thursday.

The committee expressed displeasure over absence of senior administration of Balochistan government while at the same time identified areas where improvement is needed in implementation of USF projects and for Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

Senator Usman Kakar pointed out areas where telecom towers are present but the coverage is weak and citizens face problems with signals.

He identified areas in Zhob, Loralai, Badini, Muslim Bagh, etc where either signals are weak or there are security problems or fights over tower cites. He explained further that most of the issues exist because of the local administration and the telecom companies.

The information he shared will be submitted to USF and PTA who will subsequently update the committee about details.

CEO USF briefed the committee that out of 5600 kilometers, fiber has been laid in 4500 kilometer area of Balochistan and 55 out of 75 tehsils are now covered and towers are being installed.

He mentioned areas of Awaran, Bisham, Kolu and Zhob where law and order situation is delaying implementation.

The committee also discussed environmental guidelines while laying fiber and installing towers. The problems of law and order, security of tower cites, convincing the local population and need for close coordination between USF and Balochistan provincial and district coordination was emphasized.

It was agreed in the meeting that the next meeting will be arranged in Balochistan to ensure close inspection of ongoing projects’ implementation status after taking approval from the Chairman Senate.

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