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BBMP decided to notify firm before removing OFCs

Before removing unauthorised optical fibre cables (OFCs), the BBMP must notify the company concerned, a recent meeting of civic agencies has decided.

Officials told the meeting — headed by Additional Chief Secretary of Urban Development Mahendra Jain — that while unauthorised cables must be cleared, the process should not disrupt digital communication, an integral part of people’s daily lives. They also felt it was necessary to avoid the arbitrary removal of OFCs and those who laid the cables must be given an opportunity to produce the necessary documents and get the approval. They should also be given a timeframe to lay the cables underground. While the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has been clearing the OFCs following complaints from citizens, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has raised objections, saying the companies were not given a fair chance to defend themselves. “The cables that are officially installed in Bangalore are also being cleared.

This is turning disadvantageous to the public,” COAI Director-General Rajan S Mathews wrote to chief secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar recently, demanding the suspension of the clearance drive. The chief secretary had asked Jain to meet officials of the departments concerned. Officials refuted the COAI’s charges. Officially adapted cables are not removed. Licensing is permitted only for installing underground cables using cross drilling method. There is no licence to instal a cable on the floor, they insisted. “Only after seeking a no-objection certificate from the respective zonal engineers, the installation of the OFCs will be permitted,” said a BBMP official who was part of the meeting. The COAI charges have been denied by the representatives at the meeting.

“The officially adapted cables are not cleared. Licensing is permitted only for installing underground cables using cross drilling method. There is no license to install a cable on the floor,” the members of the meeting emphasised. “Only after seeking a no-objection certificate from the respective zonal engineers will the installation of the OFCs be permitted,” said a BBMP official who was part of the meeting.

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