Tamil Nadu

A threat to residents from above

A messy problem: Telecom and cable television networks have put up poles on several streets.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) is taking steps to bring the overhead power lines underground. But residents in various parts of the city grumble about the growing menace of overhead cables of telecom and satellite companies.

Thousands of interior streets are crowded with iron poles, and their skyline is cluttered with overhanging cables. The menace has become more pronounced in the past few years: several telecom and cable television networks have put up poles to carry their cables. These are in addition to the Chennai Corporation’s street-light poles used for carrying cables.

The overhanging cables are an eyesore. They also pose a threat to residents.

T. Abishek, a resident of R.A. Puram, points out that with work-from-home being the norm, telecom cables have become indispensable for Internet link. But the civic body has to regulate the installation of the poles and work out rules for the maintenance of cables that hang on avenue trees or street-light poles at most places.

Residents say the streets are already filled with overhead electricity lines and street-light poles and the installation of huge poles for carrying the telecom cables is adding to their problems because they are being erected without any regard for safety.

A senior Corporation official says the power to grant permission (‘right of way’) for laying underground Internet cables and television cables on arterial roads rests with the Bus Route Department.

And the Electricity Department will have to grant permission for stringing the cables overground through street-light poles.

The civic body grants the permission after collecting the annual track rent for using the street-light poles.

The rent for 2021-22 is ₹63,236 per kilometre, he says.

The Corporation has been able to collect the track rent from the telecom companies. But it is unable to regularise the stand-alone poles put up by the fiber-optic cable operators because the State government is yet to fix the annual rent.

‘File is pending’

The civic body recommended ₹4,500 in annual rent for the erection of a single pole by fiber-optic cable companies on February 3 last year.

A senior official says the regularisation scheme for the poles installed by the fiber-optic cable operators could not be implemented as the Information Technology Department “advised a one-time payment of ₹3,000 for a single pole”, which was not acceptable. The file was kept pending. The delay in the regularisation of the poles was also causing the civic body a huge revenue loss, the official says.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 5:50:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/a-threat-to-residents-from-above/article35551295.ece

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