Department of Telecom (DoT), Telecom Industry under the aegis of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) are working together with the support of Maharashtra Government for facilitating the deployment of the Telecom Infrastructure in the state of Maharashtra.
Telecom Industry has been taking up the RoW related issues such as Reduction & Rationalisation of Restoration Charge w.r.t deployment of the underground fibre, Grant the permission to TSPs for doing the Self-Restoration with provision of Performance Bank Guarantee of Nominal value, Withdrawal of the one Time Access Charges being levied in Mumbai, Regularisation of Towers, Single window online Clearance mechanism, etc with the State Government.
On the request of the industry, recently, Sh. Rajaraman, IAS, Secretary, DoT took up this issue with Sh. Chakravarty, IAS, Chief Secretary Maharashtra and have requested him to intervene personally and instruct the concerned Authorities to review the state Telecom Infrastructure Policy (issued on 17th February 2018) and align the same with Indian Telegraph RoW Rules 2016 (as amended from Time to Time).
Subsequent to the Letter from Secretary, DoT LSA Head Maharashtra has also in its letter to Pr. Secretary (IT) Maharashtra urged to align the Maharashtra policy with RoW rules 2016 and incorporate the provisions of Overhead OFC, to define that applicable Charges/fees includes maintaining, working, repairing, transferring or shifting etc. activities along with establishing of the telegraph infrastructure, include provision for Regularisation of existing towers installed prior of Maharashtra RoW Policy 2018.
It is to be noted that Mumbai and Pune have one of the highest RoW related Charges in terms of Restoration Charge and Access Charges for laying fibre in the country. In Mumbai some of the Municipal Corporations are charging the one Time Access Charges ranging from Rs. 100 to Rs. 1700 per meter for laying fibre. This is over and above the admin Charges of Rs. 1000 per Km prescribed in the Maharashtra policy.
Also, considering the request of Industry Association COAI and with the intervention of Deputy Chief Minister, Maharashtra a recently a Committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Principal Secretary (UDD), to study aspects of Restoration Charges, Access Charges, Regularization of Tower and Property Tax on Towers etc. and further to make recommendations.
Lt. Gen. Dr S P Kochhar, Director General, COAI said “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that connectivity is essential, more than ever before, for citizens. We appreciate the intervention by the Secretary, DoT, Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, Other State government officials and the Department of Telecommunication (LSA) to resolve the RoW related issues for faster roll-out of Telecom Infrastructure across Maharashtra. The industry is committed and is putting in best efforts to make Maharashtra digitally advanced.” CT Bureau