Govt issues rules to make entities pay for causing damage to telecom infra

The government has notified new rules to make entities pay for damages that they may cause by digging or excavating to telecom infrastructure like optical fibre network and mobile towers, according to an official statement issued on Friday.

According to official estimates, due to digging or excavation activities undertaken by various entities, there are nearly 10 lakh optical fibre cuts (OFC) every year that cause an economic loss of approximately Rs 3,000 crore per annum.

The Department of Telecom expects that the Indian Telegraph (Infrastructure Safety) Rules 2022 was notified on January 3 will be able to curb damages caused to the telecom infrastructure and inconvenience caused to citizens because of frequent breakdown of communication services.

“Many utilities can be saved from unwanted cuts and wasteful costs towards restoration, thus saving thousands of crores for businesses and associated tax loss to the government,” the statement said.

The rule mandates that any person or entity that wishes to exercise a legal right to dig or excavate any property which is likely to cause damage to a telegraph infrastructure shall give notice to the licensee, prior to commencement, through a common portal at least one month in advance.

“… any person, who has dug/excavated any property causing damage to a telegraph infrastructure, shall be liable to pay the damage charges to the telegraph authority. The damage charges shall be computed based on such expenses as may be incurred in restoring damages,” the statement said.

The Centre will provide an app or portal through which entities can give notice to telecom companies about digging or excavation work at desired locations.

“Excavators/utility asset owners will be given alerts via SMS, email and in-app notification and will also have the facility of Click to call’ from the app itself. The person digging or excavating shall take appropriate action on precautionary measures provided by the licensee.

“In case no licensee provides details within the prescribed time, the person having legal right to dig or excavate shall be free to dig or excavate the property thereafter,” the statement said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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