Policy & RegulationTT Correspondent | 10 Jul 2019
The Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (Taipa) has sought intervention from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to issue directives to Rajasthan chief secretary to align local policies with that of the Centre’s Right of Way (RoW) 2016 rules.
In a letter to telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan dated July 5, the Delhi-based group said that necessary directives to the Urban Development and Housing (UDH) that superseded all the previous policies, be provided and help in regularising telecom towers in the state.
The state as per February 2019 order, increased an annual fee for all mobile tower deployments by 100% to Rs 10,000, from Rs 5,000 earlier, which according to Taipa contradicts the previous state telecom tower policy.
Congress veteran Ashok Gehlot-headed Rajasthan government, according to the group, has been following the 2012 policy, and fear that the state might charge fee retrospectively for 3,200 towers deployed after 2017 norms coming into effect.
In addition, the state has made the Standing Advisory Committee on Radio Frequency Allocation (SACFA) certificate mandatory for the tower location while the industry argues that it could only be provided by service providers after infrastructure deployment.
The local bodies, according to provisions currently adhered by the state officials requires no objection certificates from building owners for roof-top tower deployments, and usage of roof would be restricted for other purposes.
“It is rather surprising that Rajasthan was the first state to align their policy with RoW rules, 2016 issued by the Indian government. Now, the Department of UDH has taken totally reversal approach by following their erstwhile policy for telecom infrastructure installations and regularisation of existing of mobile towers and totally negating their own policy of February 2017,” Taipa Director General Tilak Raj Dua said.
Dua further said that that there was no alignment between various wings of the state government for the execution of the policies.
The Indian government, according to him, is taking all the necessary steps to transform the nation into a digitally-led society while retrograde steps like these are destructing the momentum of achieving overarching flagship program of Digital India.
Such incidences, according to Taipa, have totally hijacked the rollout of essential telecom infrastructure eventually restricting the citizens from availing e-governance, e-banking, e-health, e-education and emergency services due to network unavailability.
In its letter, Taipa’s top executive sought “urgent support” in addressing the key concerns which, according to him was leading to connectivity issues and impacting the public at large in the state of Rajasthan.
“India aspires to stand strong with global counterparts by rolling out 5G services in India while these uncorroborated orders put a halt on the rollout of essential telecom infrastructure which is the backbone for reaping the benefits of any kind of technology whether it is 5G or basic network connectivity,” Dua added.