With just a few months to go for the Delhi assembly elections, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today announced that 11,000 WiFi hotspots will be installed across the city to ensure seamless Internet connectivity for its residents. Despite being a flagship project of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, its WiFI project has missed several deadlines over the years.
Mr Kejriwal said his government has already cleared the proposal. "Delhi government fulfils its major election promise of providing free WiFi. Cabinet approves creation of 11,000 hotspots across Delhi. This is the single biggest initiative of a government anywhere in the world providing such a big number of free WiFi hotspots," he tweeted.
The Delhi Chief Minister said that while 4,000 of these WiFi hotspots will be installed at bus stops, the other 7,000 will be distributed in the range of 100 per assembly constituency. "Every user will be given 15 GB free data per month as part of the first phase," news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
AAP had first promised to ensure free availability of WiFi at public spaces across Delhi in its 2015 elections manifesto. "Citywide WiFi can help bridge the digital divide. It will also provide an impetus to education, entrepreneurship, business, employment, and also tie in with women's safety initiatives," it read.
Delhi becomes first city in the world where govt installing nearly 3 lakh CCTVs in one go to ensure women safety & to provide a major push to infrastructure. There may be more CCTVs in other cities but Delhi is the first city where three lakh CCTVs are coming up in a single go— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) August 8, 2019
In Budget 2015-16, Finance Minister Manish Sisodia had termed provision of WiFi as a major step towards making Delhi a technologically advanced city. "Through our interactions with the youth, traders, students, housewives and farmers in the rural areas, we were able to identify WiFi as a fundamental necessity. Therefore, we promised free WiFi to citizens of Delhi in the run-up to the elections," he said.
Earlier this year, the AAP government said that Rs 150 crore has been allocated for the project.
After AAP failed to win any of Delhi's seven constituencies in the Lok Sabha elections, the party has doubled efforts to woo voters ahead of the assembly polls. On June 3, Mr Kejriwal announced that his government was planning to make travel for women free in government buses and Metro trains - drawing criticism from experts as well as opposition parties. Former Delhi Metro Rail Corporation E Sreedharan termed it as an "election gimmick" and urged the AAP government to "not destroy" an otherwise efficient public transport system for "electoral gains".
The government's decision, however, was applauded by voters in the national capital.
Mr Kejriwal also announced today that 2.8 lakh CCTV cameras will be installed across the national capital in an effort to improve its law-and-order situation. The city government had earlier approved the installation of 1.4 lakh CCTV cameras.
Delhi will go to the polls between January and February next year.
(With inputs from ANI)
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