Optical Fibre Cable companies turn milch cows for broke Palike

Optical Fibre Cable companies turn milch cows for broke Palike

The opitcal fibre cable policy of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has come as a sort of saviour for the bankrupt civic agency.

The Palike has netted Rs 109 crore in the form of revenue from OFCs in the last two-and-a-half months.

Officials of the Palike, six out of nine telecom firms have paid their dues to the civic agency since February 17, in accordance with their declarations on the total length of the cables laid in the City.

Sources said that  RJL, Airtel, Tata Communication, Vodafone and Sterlite have paid the charges for laying the cables.

The BBMP reportedly has not yet received payment from Tata Teleservices, Reliance Communication and Aircel so far.

The Palike has received Rs 139 crore ever since the OFC policy was brought into force in the last financial year.

This amount, however, is still short of about Rs 561 crore of the expected revenue from the OFCs in the previous financial year. Yet, the officials were enthusiastic about the revenue from an ‘unexpected’ source.

A senior Palike official said, “Nobody had ever imagined that OFCs can fetch such a huge amount of revenue for the Palike.

Initially we were all skeptical about the claims that OFCs can bring Rs 700 crore to Rs 800 crore to the BBMP. Now that we got Rs 109 crore in just two-and-a-half months, we can believe OFCs have a huge revenue-earning potential.”

Claims and counterclaim

Former deputy mayor S Harish claimed that the expected revenue should be Rs 2,500 crore, given the total length of OFCs laid in the City.

“Airtel has laid OFCs for a length of 60,000 km and the expected revenue from them is Rs 1,500 crore. After our repeated insistance, officials of the telecom firm said they have laid cables only for a length of 2,500 km. When we disagreed, they came out with another claim that they have laid only 5,600 km long OFCs. We have told Airtel clearly that we will auction the OFCs in excess of the length declared by them and in those areas not mentioned in their affidavit,” said Harish.

He added that action against the telecom firms would begin once the Lok Sabha elections get over.

The BBMP is collecting only the OFC laying charges and not the rental amount.

It is charging Rs 600 per metre as cable laying charges, Rs 100 per metre as supervision charges and Rs 150 per metre as security deposit.

The telecom firms have been claiming that they have laid cables only for a length of 6,000 km while the Palike officials are not ready to believe their version.

The Palike has been verifying the claims of the firms.

The OFC policy was brought into effect almost 15 years after the telecom firms damaged the City roads and choked the sewerage lines without paying a single penny to the BBMP for laying cables.
DH News Service

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