Bengaluru: Notwithstanding the recent surge in internet connectivity, thousands of villagers across Karnataka still cannot book gas cylinders or check their bank balance using their mobiles, due to no access to telecom services.

As per the latest data on telecom and mobile services in villages made available by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), of the 27,397 inhabited villages in Karnataka, 869 are devoid of tele-connectivity facility.

However, according to the department of telecommunications, these villages, like thousands more across India, have an average population of less than 1000, with low economic activity, which makes providing telecom services financially impractical.

Compared to other southern states, only Andhra Pradesh has more villages devoid of tele-connectivity, while Kerala has all villages covered.

The state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the only operator willing to reach out to such villages, is currently undergoing financial crisis, thus hinting at bleak future for these villages

These statistics in Karnataka, known to be a tech-savvy state, have puzzled the government too.

According to a media report, Priyank Kharge was cited stating that BSNL had already been paid to provide these services, and that the government was also willing to pay them for further initiatives in connecting these villages, but no results have been seen since.