DoT Writes to Karnataka Gov to align State tower policy with 2016 RoW Rules

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Tower and infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) industry association for leading telecommunication Infrastructure Providers appreciates the proactivity of Department of Telecommunication (DoT) for writing a letter to Chief Secretary, Karnataka Government requesting them to revise and align the ‘Karnataka installation of new Telecommunication Infrastructure Towers Regulations, 2019’ as per the Right of Way rules, 2016, immediately.

The Right of Way rules (RoW), 2016 notified by Indian Government have clearly brought out the salient features such as no restriction on the location of telecom towers, single window clearance mechanism, defined time-period for approvals, deemed approvals, the appointment of Nodal officers, nominal administrative fees and deemed approval etc. extensively supporting the Digital India mission, while the Karnataka Tower Policy, 2019 do not have most of the provisions as in the mentioned in the RoW rules, 2016. Further, the Karnataka administration continues to follow their existing policy dated 2015 which was again not at all aligned with any of the policies notified by the Department of Telecommunications.

Even after TAIPA’s numerous presentations, discussions and submissions on the draft policy Karnataka Government have taken lackadaisical and lacklustre attitude by notifying the said policy, which will impede the rollout of essential telecom infrastructure across the state ultimately hindering the transformation of Karnataka into a ‘Digital Karnataka’. After the imprudent behaviour of State Government, the association turned to DoT for seeking help and relaxation from the said rules.

Tilak Raj Dua, Director General, TAIPA, said “It is dismaying to go through the new Karnataka Tower Policy, 2019 as it imposes number of regressive restrictions which will not only impede the rollout of telecom infrastructure across the Karnataka State but will hinder the overall ease of doing business and make it a digitally deprived state. We need to understand that Central Government with telecom industry is working hard to digitise the nation in order to enable socio-economic development across every nook and corner of the nation, not aligning state tower policy with Right of Way rules, 2016 will deprive the citizens of Karnataka from quality telecom services and high-speed broadband. TAIPA appreciates proactivity of DoT for issuing this letter, which may help in taking Karnataka along for achieving the Digital Indian mission.”

The visionary programmes of the government such as Digital India and Smart cities are severely impacted due to the absence of uniform, comprehensive tower policy aligned with RoW rules dated November 2016 issued by central government.