Union Communications and Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday launched the BSNL Wi-Fi service in Puri town. Initially, the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited service would be available between the Jagannath temple and Mausi Maa temple during the ongoing Nabakalebar festival and the ensuing 'Rath Yatra' and 'Bahuda Yatra'.
Nabakalebar is a unique ritual associated with Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra, in which present idols are replaced with new ones.
Earlier in the day, Puri legislator Maheswar Mohanty also launched the Wi-Fi service of Reliance company in the pilgrim city.
While Reliance service will be free from July 13 to 31, it would be accessed only in the Bada Danda (grand road) and seashore areas.
Under the ambitious Digital India project launched recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 2.5 lakh panchayats would be connected through optical fibre, Prasad said at a meeting in Puri.
He said the 'Digital India' initiative would help the country and its people reap benefits through technology.
The minister said India at present had around 98 crore mobile phone and 30 crore Internet users. The government aimed to increase Internet users to 50 crore in the next two years, Prasad added.
Emphasising on the manufacture of electronics in the country, he said his ministry had already received proposal worth Rs.24-25,000 crore from entrepreneurs and cleared proposals of about Rs.12,000 crore.
Prasad said that a special postal stamp on Nabakalebar festival would be released soon.
Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the Sun temple complex in Konark had already been connected with Wi-Fi.
Puri member of parliament Pinaki Mishra, Odisha Information and Technology Minister Pranab Prakash Das, Puri legislator Maheswar Mohanty and state BJP president K.V. Singhdeo were also present on the occasion.