The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) committee, constituted last week to look into Optical Fibre Cables (OFC) across the city, estimates that around 90 per cent of OFCs laid in Bangalore are illegal.
A 10-member committee, under the chairmanship of Yediyur ward Councillor N R Ramesh, was formed last week to ascertain the loss to BBMP by illegal laying of OFCs by various service providers. The Committee inspected various locations around the city on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters, Ramesh said that there are 18 telecom service providers in Bangalore. “According to them (service providers), they have laid 6,140 km of authorised OFCs and around 1,400 km are illegally laid. But, in Bangalore, there are more than 60,000 km dug up to lay OFCs of which at least 55,000 km are illegal,” he said. This apart, there are around 8,000 km of overhead cables which need to be removed.
Ramesh said they are measuring the OFCs laid with the help of an odometer. “At present, we have measured arterial roads and found 5000 km of illegally laid OFCs. We are yet to take sub-arterial and other roads,” he said. “These cables were laid without the Palike’s permission and we are incurring revenue loss in crores because of them,” he alleged.
Ramesh said that BBMP had passed an OFC Policy, but service providers went to court. Later, the High Court ruled in favour of the BBMP and directed it to charge ground rent from the service providers. “The committee is recommending `300 to `600 per meter per annum,” he said. “We will submit our report by November 15 and the same will come up before the Council for approval. No permission will be given to any service provider till November,” he said. “We will call for a meeting next week with CEOs of all 18 service providers,” he said.
The Committee inspected various locations including Shanthinagar, K H Road, Bannerghatta Road, Jayanagar and surrounding areas. The Committee found that roads were dug up two feet deep and two inches in width to lay cables. “On many of the roads, these cables are seen on the surface, which are causing problems for two-wheelers,” Ramesh said.
Cables were seen at a drain in front of BMTC bus stand in Shanthinagar and also laid inside the drain near Billekahalli on Bannerghatta Road. “The OFCs were laid inside sanitary pipes. That is one of the reason why water overflows,” he said. “In Bangalore, at least 15,000 pits have been dug to insert fabrication boxes to connect OFCs, but these pits were not closed. We need at least `20 crore to restore all the pits,” he said.
Committee members Latha Narasimhamurthy of BJP, R Prakash of JD(S), R S Sathyanarayana and others were present.