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Bengaluru municipal body rescinds permits for laying telecom cables

twitter-logoPTI | October 18, 2019 | Updated 23:11 IST

Bengaluru, Oct 18 (PTI) Bengaluru municipal body has withdrawn permissions granted to companies for laying telecom cables, which would hit digital infrastructure and businesses in the city, industry associations said on friday. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) said that the permits were granted in compliance with the norms and after companies paid fees to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike. "During the progress review meeting held on October 14, 2019, with all the heads of the department of BBMP, under the chairmanship of Hon’ble Commissioner, direction have been issued to withdraw all the permissions issued for laying of OFC cables to various service providers immediately...Further, it is informed that no works related to laying of OFC cable shall be executed by the service providers henceforth strictly," BBMP said in its order dated October 15, 2019. The municipal body had cut optical fibre cables in April that were laid over the ground. BBMP had demanded fees for the overground cables while telecom industry bodies said that the fee has been already paid to the BBMP and the cables were temporarily laid overground due to construction work going in some of the affected area. The issue was resolved later after the intervention of the Department of Telecom and Karnataka Chief Secretary at that time. “BBMP’s arbitrary order stopping work and cancelling all OFC permissions to telecom operators is extremely disappointing. Stopping of OFC work disrupts critical digital infrastructure and will hurt businesses," COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said in a statement. Mathews said that the work was undertaken by service providers after securing all required approvals from BBMP and paying significant amounts towards fees and in compliance with applicable norms. "We urge them to allow the restoration of impacted work immediately and to have clear and stable RoW Policy which will further allow to develop a future ready framework to enable deliver world-class digital connectivity to citizens in the IT capital of India," Mathews said. Taipa DG T R Dua said that such retrograde step by BBMP without any prior information and bilateral discussions with the industry is completely unjustified. "It will deprive citizens and especially businesses in the IT city like Bangalore from seamless network and internet connectivity and impede rollout of new technologies like 5G, M2M/IoT etc in the State besides seriously impacting various ambitious programs of the Government of India such as Digital India, Smart City, financial inclusion etc," Dua said. Industry bodies demanded that the state government , which is currently ruled by BJP, should align it's policy with that of central government rule for rolling out telecom networks. "We have been requesting the State Government for last 3-4 years to come out with a RoW Policy for OFC in line with RoW Rules 2016 of the central government however the same has not seen the light of the day," Dua said. PTI PRS MR

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