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DIPA urges Maharashtra govt to resolve RoW & Telecom Infrastructure issues

Digital Infrastructure Providers Association has written to Debashish Chakrabarty, IAS, Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra, Mumbai for an urgent intervention with regards to the new guidelines for Telecom Infrastructure being framed by Urban Development Dept, Govt. of Maharashtra.

In the letter written to the Chief Secretary, DIPA mentioned that with reference to the Maharashtra Right of Way (RoW) & Telecom Infrastructure policy the existing issues pertaining to the policy are:

  • Implementation of ROW 2018 policy: The local municipal bodies are not accepting applications submitted under ROW 2018 policy and insisting to application be made under Row 2014 guidelines or MRTP act. The critical infrastructure providing essential telecommunication service are being demolished or sealed by local authorities from time and again, tower permissions granted earlier are being revoked at their will. Further, various Municipal Corporations/Municipalities and local authorities are formulating their own tower policies in contravention to DOT Guidelines, Central Row Rules, 2016 and State Policies, such practices should be curbed urgently.
  • Regularization of Towers: Regularization clause for all the existing towers should be incorporated in State RoW Policy issued in Feb’2018 by IT dept for implementation across the State of Maharashtra in true letter and spirit.
  • Property Tax: There is urgent need of rationalization of property tax. The incidence of property tax in Maharashtra is highest in the country. The progressive States like Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu charge a fixed property tax in the range of Rs.7500 to Rs. 15000/- on the telecom towers.
  • Penalty on property tax (Shasti): The local municipal bodies are appropriating the payment of property tax towards Shasti and showing the property tax in arrears, further levying thereon interest as penalty and taking coercive actions along with threat to seal against the telecom towers to recover the alleged property tax.
  • Area based restrictions: The State Tower and Infrastructure Policy, 2018 be implemented, including essential telecom towers on Schools, Colleges and Hospital building considering the new era of digital e-services and further no such restrictions are also imposed by Department of telecommunication for installation of mobile towers in School, colleges and Hospital buildings.

The main contentious points shared verbally included:

  • Permission fee shall applicable as per categories of local authority.
  • Permission fee will consist of Scrutiny fees, Security Deposit, Administrative Charges, Development Charges, License Fee payable per year.
  • No reference to Regularization of towers was there which is a major concern.
  • Term of permission/ NOC shall be valid for five (5) years, Permission granted shall be deemed for only (1) one year, etc.

CT Bureau

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