Government has Amended the Right of Way (ROW) Rules making it easier for telcos to set up towers and optic fibres in a bid to speed up rollout of 5G services.
Let us first understand What is Right of Way
- A right-of-way (ROW) is a right to make a way over a piece of land, usually to and from another piece of land.
- A right of way is a type of ease granted or reserved over the land for transportation purposes, such as a highway, public footpath, rail transport, canal, as well as electrical transmission lines, oil and gas pipelines.
Right of Way Rules for Public Projects
- The Centre is considering a National Right of Way framework to rationalize and smoothen implementation of public projects on all lands falling under government under the purview of different ministries.
- The reason behind this is several Union Government Projects from laying the utilities like electric cables, water pipelines and telecom towers to road expansion are getting stuck or delayed due to various procedures involved in Right of Way Rules.
- PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan team is working on the national ROW framework.
What is PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan?
- PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan was launched on 13th October 2021 for providing multimodal connectivity infrastructure to various economic zones.
- PM Gati Shakti is a transformative approach for economic growth and sustainable development driven by 7 engines which are
- Mass Transport
- Logistics Infrastructure
- All 7 engines will pull forward the economy in unison. These engines are supported by the complementary roles of Energy Transmission, IT Communication, Bulk Water & Sewerage, and Social Infrastructure.
- The approach is powered by Clean Energy and Sabka Prayas – the efforts of the Central Government, the state governments, and the private sector together – leading to huge job and entrepreneurial opportunities for all, especially the youth.
- Traditionally, there was lack of coordination between different Departments, for example, once a road was constructed, other agencies dug up the constructed road again for activities like laying of underground cables, gas pipelines etc.
- This not only caused great inconvenience but was also a wasteful expenditure. To address this, efforts were made to increase coordination so that all cables, pipelines etc. could be laid simultaneously.
Telecom sector Amended ROW Rules for 5G Rollout
- Nearly 500 telecom/optical fibre projects have been held up due to these interministerial variations. Many of them are related to defence land in border or cantonments area
- The central Government Amended the Right of Way rules and made it easier for telecos to set up towers and optic fibre on street furniture by paying minimal charges in a bid to speed up rollout of 5G services.
- Telecom companies will also not require any approval from the authorities for laying cables or installing mobile towers or poles over private properties while the administrative fees for setting up mobile towers too has been rationalized.
- Gati Shakti Sanchar Portal will be used as a single window for getting all the Row clearances . According to the Centre 5G services will scale up fast.
Centre Amended Right of Way Rules
- The Department of Telecommunications has made certain amendments to Indian Telegraph Right of Way Rules.
- According to the amendment RoW application procedures for small cell has been simplified. Telecom Licenses will be able to use street infrastructure to deploy telecom equipment at a nominal cost of Rs 150/annum in rural areas and Rs 300/annum in urban areas.
- In order to facilitate faster fiberization street infrastructure may be utilized at a nominal cost of Rs 100/annum to install over ground optical fibre. The amendments also create a distinction between poles and mobile towers.
- According the new amendments all the states and UTs and major infrastructure central ministries such as railways , highways have been integrated with the central RoW portal to make India ready for 5G launch.
- 5G is expected to be launched in the month of October and expected to scale up in urban as well as rural areas.
- India hopes for a speedy rollout of technology and become 5G enabled with the help of Indian Telegraph Right of Way Amendment Rules , 2022.