The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mayor’s picture proof of Reliance ‘errors’

Mayor Subrata Mukherjee on Thursday handed over to municipal affairs minister Asok Bhattacharya a document containing photographic evidence of how Reliance Infocomm has “flouted norms” while laying optical-fibre cable in a “faulty and dangerous manner” in some parts of the city.

The mayor’s ‘proof pack’ contains photographs of at least 21 sites across the city, showing how metal strips, used as a protective covering for the optic fibre laid by Reliance over the past year, are jutting out of the street surface. The metal-menace spots include Haji Mohammad Mohsin Square, Chandni Chowk, Nalini Seth Lane, Alipore Road, Humayun Place and stretches of AJC Bose Road.

The civic authorities have suggested that the government make use of the document as a basic input for the upcoming inspection of such sites by government agencies to probe the circumstances that led to the tragic death of 26-year-old Amit Dalmia on Camac Street.

On the night of May 12, Amit had accidentally driven over a Reliance metal strip that pierced the floor of the car, before ripping his lungs and heart and killing him at the wheel.

According to sources, the mayor also told the government that Reliance had “no right” to blame other agencies, like the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC), CESC and Calcutta Telephones, for allegedly digging the roads, damaging the optical-fibre cables and causing the metal strips to spring free.

In support of his contention, Mukherjee submitted a copy of the agreement between the CMC and Reliance Infocomm Limited, signed in September 2002. This stated that the private company was given permission to lay optical-fibre cable in accordance with the ‘direct buried cabling method’ on the condition that the “CMC or other infrastructure-providers cannot be held responsible for any damage caused to your cable laid at such shallow depth during cutting road surface to meet their own needs or purposes”.

Claiming Reliance had not followed the recommended methodology for laying the cable, the mayor also submitted a copy of what should have been done:

—Cut 10-mm-wide and 150-mm-deep groove in the road with floor-saw machine

—Clean the groove with a rolling wheel

—Lay the optical-fibre cable from the trolley

—Insert retaining foam strip over cable with pusher wheel

—Insert 10-mm copper cable

—Insert hard rubber-retaining sealing strip against water

—Insert 10-mm-thick, 20-mm-deep GI (galvanised insulated) steel strip

—Carry out 50-mm groove restoration by AKOL Crete sealant

—Final 30-mm portion of groove seal with polymer-based sealant.

The municipal affairs minister has asked the mayor to submit a report before a joint inspection is carried out.

The joint inspection team includes members from the CMC, the CMDA, CESC, Calcutta Telephones, Reliance Infocomm and the municipal affairs department.

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