Firms found laying underground cables for more than permitted length

The Coimbatore Corporation has initiated action against a few private mobile phone service providers by seizing the vehicles they used for laying cables.

According to sources, the civic body had seized five vehicles and had slapped a fine of Rs. 10,000 each for the releasing the vehicles. The Corporation at present had two vehicles in its custody. It acted against the companies after it found them laying underground cables for more than the permitted length.

In the latest instance, the Corporation had found the companies repeating the mistake and had planned to slap fines.

The sources said that the companies ought to pay Rs. 6,300 a km for laying cables within the city limits. The companies obtained permission for a few km but laid cables for more km without informing the civic body. The companies after being caught argued that their cables ran along State Highways and National Highways and that they need not pay the civic body.

But the officials clarified the position saying that irrespective of the type of road, if the cables were laid within the city limits, the mobile phone service providing companies ought to pay the Corporation.

The sources said that the civic body now proposed to ascertain the distance for which each mobile phone service providing companies had laid the cables and then send demand notices to them. It would do so with the help of surveyors and officials from the town planning and engineering wings.

Meanwhile, the civic body also proposed to levy a fee on the mobile phone service providers for the towers they had erected within the city limits. The sources said that the State Government had not objected to the proposal. Likewise, the mobile phone service providers had also not said anything. The Corporation, as per a resolution passed a couple of years, would soon start levying the fee at Rs. 30,000 for every tower that was within the city limits.

The Corporation estimates that there could be over 1,000 mobile phone towers within the city limits.

It had already begun charging property tax at commercial rate on the owners of the buildings that housed the towers. This had led to an increase in income for the civic body, the sources said.

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