TANFINET signed the Master Service Agreement with L&T, ITI Ltd and third party agency BECIL for packages C and D of the four-package project in the presence of Information Technology Minister Mano Thangaraj.
The project, implemented at a cost of Rs 1,815.32 crore, aims to provide a minimum of 1 Gbps bandwidth connectivity to all village panchayats. The SPV has classified the project, district-wise, into four packages and identified four system integrators for each package and a third party agency to inspect and audit the implementation.
The deals signed for packages C and D would cover 3,326 panchayats in Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Pudukkottai, Namakkal, Karur, Coimbatore, Tirupur and Tiruchy districts and 3,103 panchayats in Kanniyakumari, Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Theni, Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli, Virudhunagar, Tenkasi, Dindigul and Sivaganga districts.
An official communique from the government said packages A and B would be implemented in all 12, 525 panchayats after the disposal of the pending litigation. The Union government had cancelled a Rs 1,950 crore tender floated by the previous AIADMK regime for the BharatNet project following alleged irregularities. The DMK had filed a petition in the High Court against former Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and then Revenue Minister RB Udhayakumar, alleging irregularities in the implementation of packages A and B of the BharatNet project.
The BharatNet project intends to provide affordable and quality digital services, e-education, telemedicine and triple-play services to all village panchayats, besides providing high speed internet services to government offices, schools, colleges and business enterprises. Talking to the media, Minister Thangaraj said the project, once implemented, will resolve connectivity problems faced by rural students and also simplify e-governance.