Palike cuts short devious ways of OFC companies

The distance between Mehkri Circle and Yelahanka New Town is a “mere two kilometres” and the space between Anil Kumble Circle and Ulsoor Lake is just “one kilometre”.

These details were furnished by the telecom companies to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) regarding the Optical Cable Fibres (OFCs) the firms had laid in the City.

The Palike had sought details of the OFCs after the firms damaged many newly laid roads while laying the OFCs illegally, across the City.

The firms initially denied information and some of them moved the High Court of Karnataka, challenging the Palike’s decision. But the High Court dismissed their petition, directing them to submit the details sought by the Palike.

The information furnished by the firms was startling. According to their first disclosure, they had laid OFCs hardly for 1,200 km.

On repeated insistence and warning by the Palike to provide correct information, the telecom firms were compelled to provide at least details that could be nearer to the truth.

According to Ganesh Mandir ward corporator, N R Ramesh, “The 16 telecom firms in the City have laid at least 25,000 km-long OFCs in the City, but they are still claiming that they have laid merely 8,500-odd kilometres of cables.”

The Palike’s efforts to check laying cables illegally were made easy when it set out on compiling road history.

While preparing road history, the Palike learnt that there are 94,260 roads in the City and their total length, put together, will be around 12,000 km.

It helps the Palike to trace the length and breadth of every road within the BBMP limits, leaving little room for anyone to hoodwink the civic body any more.

G Manjunath Raju, former chairperson of BBMP Standing Committee for Taxationand Finance, who played a pivotal role in introducing property identity number (PID) and Road History, insists that road history leaves no room for duplication of work or making false declaration about OFCs.

According to Raju, the Palike will shortly put PID and the Road History in the public domain.

Raju says, “The declaration made about the OFCs will not only be marked on the road but also in the Road History map, which will be uploaded onto the Palike’s website shortly. This will make it easy for anyone to trace the length of OFCs laid in a particular part of the City.”

Following the false information given by the telecom, the BBMP has made a provision that officers of general manager or above rank alone can apply for licences to lay cable lines. The application should also be sworn through an affidavit. In the event of furnishing false information, the Palike will charge double the cost of laying OFCs.

Having grilled the telecom firms for submitting false information, the Palike is making provision for online permission to lay OFCs in the City.

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