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Delhi approves notification of ‘Right of Way’ Policy

Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena has approved notification of the ‘Right of Way (RoW)’ Policy, which is crucial for digitalisation, telephony and smooth rollout of 5G services in the national capital, sources in the LG Secretariat said on Thursday.

To be mandatorily framed in compliance with the Indian Telegraph Rules, 2016, meant to facilitate implementation of the National Broadband Mission, the policy remained stuck since 2020 due to the “pointless and persistent politicking” by the AAP government and its ministers, the sources claimed.

Thirty-two states and Union Territories have already notified their RoW Policy for underground and overground telecommunications infrastructure. The AAP government in Delhi decided to formulate a draft policy in January, 2020. “However, seeing that the policy could have benefitted local bodies in terms of revenues from telecom operators, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia returned the file meant for notifying the policy to the Urban Development department in July.

“This was done by him, obviously and of course, only to usurp the powers of local bodies,” the sources alleged.

Put up again in September, Sisodia “resorted to embroiling the file in red tape and sent it to the Law department for re-examination”, they said.

When the file, duly vetted by the Law department, came to Sisodia through Law Minister Kailash Gahlot on November 1, he again marked it back to the Urban Development secretary without assigning any reason, the sources added.

Considering the forthcoming G20 Summit and that the rollout of 5G is in the advanced stages, the chief secretary directly put up the file for the Lt Governor’s approval since it involved notification under the Telegraph Rules, which is specifically a matter of the Union list, on November 23.

The Lt Governor has since approved notification of the policy and it is expected to be notified shortly, the sources added. PTI

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