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City Corporation Fixes Rs. 500 As Pole Rent For Telcos

After over two years of deliberations, the city corporation has lowered the pole rent it charges telecom companies from Rs 5,000 to Rs 500.

A council meeting of the corporation held recently arrived at the rate in line with that of other civic bodies.

Deputy mayor Rakhi Ravikumar said the rate of Rs 500 per pole was arrived at after taking into consideration all factors.

“We had initially thought of increasing the rate, however, there wasn’t a convincing reason why we should charge higher than other civic bodies,” Rakhi said.

The revenue wing had earlier recommended Rs 1,000 as rent while considering the application of a private firm. The amount was fixed after much discussion and collection of data regarding the amount being levied in other cities. It was pointed out that Thiruvananthapuram being the capital city which covers additional area when compared to other corporations should be charging telecom companies Rs 1,000.

The council had, in 2017, hiked the rent to Rs 5,000 per pole from Rs 150. The corporation also received a report for payment of rent for 1,958 poles installed by a company in various wards in 2018. At Rs 5,000 per pole, corporation could have pocketed Rs 97.9 lakh.

However, the local self government department issued an order in May 2018 banning collection of user fee, track rent and floor rent from telecom companies for laying optical fibre cables along roads.

The local bodies may collect only a one-time fee of Rs 75,000 per kilometre and road restoration charges as prescribed by the Public Works Department, the order said.

The local bodies were also directed to cancel all notices issued to telecom companies demanding additional rates and other types of fees. Besides, a telecom firm had also raised objections to the notice that demanded Rs 5,000 as pole rent.

It was at this point that officials were directed to submit a report on the actual amount to be levied.

The rent of Rs 500 will be made applicable to all telecom companies and this will be collected with retrospective effect as the notice was issued to certain firms two years ago. However, with lack of clarity regarding the fee to be collected, the amount was not paid.

The corporation has also fixed Rs 3,399.62 per square metre as road cutting charge. The charge would be Rs 6,020.78 per sqm for concrete roads and Rs 4,094.35 per sqm for interlock cutting.―Times of India

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