New Delhi: To remove bottlenecks in getting permissions from various authorities for rollout of network by by telecom companies, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has proposed uniform rules and single window clearance system for getting approvals.
The DoT has written to the states and various central government ministries and departments proposing new rules that would be applicable uniformly across the country.
"The delay in providing Right of Way (RoW) permissions and the high RoW charges impedes the development of telecom infrastructure adversely affecting the access to telecom services and Internet.
"Therefore, there is an urgent need to simplify the process of granting RoW permissions and provide these through a single window clearance system in a transparent and time bound manner," Telecom Secretary J S Deepak said in the letter.
The letter along with draft rules was sent to state chief secretaries, administrators of all Union Territories and various ministries, including power and defence.
The DoT has sought responses to the draft Indian Telegraph Right of Way Rules, 2016 by April 20.
RoW permission is required for laying out underground cable network. Telecom companies often blame local authorities in the states for creating unnecessary hurdles in roll out of telecom infrastructure, specially in granting RoW permission.
Most of the complaints have been made regarding abnormally high price for RoW as well as different levies or fee imposed by various authorities other than charges prescribed under telecom licences.
The DoT in draft rules has proposed that concerned authorities should also not impose any fee, charge, lease rental, licence fee other than the expense that authorities will be incurring as consequence of the proposed work.
Looking to address issue of arbitrary rates imposed by various government bodies, DoT proposes that payments sought by the authorities should be calculated on the basis of applicable schedule of rates for works of similar nature executed by it from time to time.
The new rules propose that telecom companies should submit application before concerned authorities in a prescribed format and every application shall accompany fee to meet administrative expenses for examination but not exceeding Rs 25,000.
The authorities involve in granting RoW permit will have to grant permission within 60 days should decide on the application. In case of rejection of the application the concerned authority should record reason in writing, as per the proposal.
"It is necessary to ensure that all government agencies/local bodies only levy the reinstatement charges in case of underground telecom infrastructure," the Telecom Secretary said in the letter.