The Telecom Department is learnt to have objected to restrictions imposed by Karnataka government on installation of mobile towers near schools, heritage buildings and religious places while asking the state to align its network infrastructure norms with that of the Centre's. Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan in a letter to Karnataka Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar has asked the state to align rules regarding installation of mobile towers with that of central government's, which impose no restrictions on installation of mobile towers near schools, heritage buildings, religious structures, among others.
Sundararajan has also objected to exorbitant fees, as much as 10 times higher than that suggested by the Centre, required for application to install mobile towers in the state. According to the rules notified by Karnataka, a company seeking permission to install mobile towers needs to pay fees in the range of Rs 15,000 to Rs 1 lakh as compared to Rs 10,000 prescribed in the Right of Way, 2016 rules notified by the central government.
She said the regulation notified by the state government in May for telecom network roll out imposes restrictions on location of mobile tower installation and at the same time does not have any provision for laying underground optical fibre. The policy also misses on provision of "deemed permission" which enables companies to install mobile tower in case they have not received any communication from the concerned authority within stipulated time, she said.
"...may I request you that the details as mentioned (in the letter) are addressed and are aligned with IT RoW rules, 2016 by revising the Karnataka Installation of New Telecommunication Infrastructure Towers Regulations, 2019, at the earliest," Sundararajan said. Tower and Infrastructure Provider Association Director General TR Dua said the state's policy in the present form is unimplementable and may also hinder roll out of telecom infrastructure in the state.
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