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Step up mobile coverage in Bengal, says poll panel

Posted on Mar 13 2014 | IANS

Kolkata, March 13 : The Election Commission has directed telecom operators to identify shadow zones (areas out of mobile network coverage) in West Bengal and ensure connectivity during the April-May Lok Sabha polls, an official said here Thursday.

According to assistant chief electoral officer Amitjyoti Bhattacharji, district magistrates in remote places like Junglemahal (Maoist affected areas of the state) have been asked to carry out assessments related to connectivity.

"In order to ensure smooth communication during poll days, we have had a discussion with mobile operators and we expect them to take some steps. Shadow zones will be identified and they will try to provide coverage," Bhattacharji said.

"We have asked the DMs to assess the situation in Junglemahal (the forested stretches of the three western districts Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore) too," he said.

Since information from the polling sites are relayed by presiding officers via text messages, mobile connectivity is crucial, he said.

The commission is also contemplating use of satellite phones in special cases.

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