BBMP cancels all permissions for laying OFC

Citizens are asking what will happen to the roads that have already been dug up to lay OFCs.

Citizens are asking what will happen to the roads that have already been dug up to lay OFCs.   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

Civic chief justifies the move, says it is time for systemic corrections

With mounting complaints about roads being dug up to lay optic fibre cables (OFCs), the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has withdrawn all permissions in this regard in the city.

An order issued by BBMP's Chief Engineer (OFC) on Tuesday states that the decision to withdraw permissions granted was taken at a meeting chaired by BBMP Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar on Monday. The meeting, with heads of different departments, also decided to direct the internet and telecom service providers to immediately cease digging roads to lay cables.

Senior officials, who attended the meeting, told The Hindu that the decision was taken in the light of growing menace of OFCs being laid after digging roads without requisite permission from the civic body. Recently, the BBMP filed cases against two service providers – Jio and Airtel – for digging roads without permission.

An official also explained that the OFC Cell would grant permission to lay cables on stretches measuring more than four km, which would be valid for one year.

“Though the service providers were using HDD (horizontal directional drilling), they still need to dig the road to create chambers at regular intervals. The open-ended nature of the permission granted was creating problems, as newly asphalted roads were being dug up,” an official said and added that many of the chambers created by the companies were not in alignment with the road. This lack of alignment was causing inconvenience to motorists.

“We had issued a mandate to various service providers to level the chambers. However, the pace of the work was not good,” the official pointed out.

Officials said many service providers, in a bid to avoid paying road cutting and road restoration charges, were resorting to overhead cables. This was affecting the city's aesthetics.

‘Systemic corrections’

Mr. Anil Kumar said the BBMP would now take up systemic corrections in granting permissions to lay cables. “The blanket permission for digging with a one-year time limit was proving to be detrimental to roads. We have decided to not grant any permission for road cutting on newly asphalted roads for a period of three years,” he said and remarked that there was no need for more cables to be laid in the city, except probably in the outskirts.

Mr. Anil Kumar said that new permissions would be granted to service providers only after they specifically mention the stretches where the cables were to be laid and the number of chambers that are required. “We will ensure a time limit for execution of the work,” he said.

‘What about roads that have been dug up?’

While many citizens welcomed the move, they sought to know what is to happen to the roads that have already been dug up.

Lalitha J., a resident of Kothanur, said, “People may fall into the trenches that have been dug up. It is very dangerous, especially when it rains.”

S. Raghunandana, theatre artiste and resident of Jayanagar, pointed out that public opinion is ignored. Citing the OFC laying work in his area, he said the roots of trees on the roadside were damaged during the digging of chambers. “The work is neither executed in a systematic manner nor are any regulatory measures in place,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 10:53:28 PM |

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