CHANDIGARH: Telecom tower companies today urged the Punjab government to come out with a comprehensive policy in line with the telecom department’s guidelines to remove bottlenecks in setting up of towers in the state.
The Tower and Infrastructure Providers’ Association (TAIPA) claimed that under the present policy, “abnormal charges and cumbersome processes” of local authorities are roadblocks to setting up of towers.
“Under the present Punjab tower policy, multiple fees and levies are imposed ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 with other additional annual charges, multiple documentations and NoCs from various departments and authorities etc,” TAIPA Director General Tilak Raj Dua said.
Apart from this, Dua claimed, due to the lack of a comprehensive uniform tower policy for the state, the local municipal authorities such as PUDA, Urban development trusts and panchayats follow their own guidelines sometimes leading to suo-moto coercive action such as sealing of or disconnecting electricity supply to towers.
The central government has notified the Right of Way policy dated November, 2016 offering salient features for the installations of telecom infrastructure such as time bound clearances, reasonable one time administrative fees, appointment of Nodal officers, defined timelines for approvals and deemed approvals, he said.
“Aligning the policy with Right of Way rules would lead to a faster roll-out of telecom infrastructure facilitating seamless network connectivity and overcoming the issues of call drops, network congestion and smooth connectivity etc. Moreover, this infrastructure will facilitate the socio-economic growth and inclusive development of the nation and state,” Dua said.
He said the industry has highlighted its concerns through number of representations and industry submissions to respective authorities for notifying a comprehensive tower policy which is aligned with the RoW rules/DoT advisory guidelines. “States such as Haryana, Jharkhand, Assam, Rajasthan, Odisha, Kerala and few others have notified their tower policies which are aligned with the RoW policy.
The policies have enabling features such as no restriction on location of telecom towers, single window clearance mechanism, defined time-period for approvals and nominal administrative fees etc. “Punjab being a very progressive state, we expect the state government to expeditiously notify the uniform comprehensive policy,” he said.