The Telegraph
Sunday , July 22 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Terms for cable link

Costs enroute

Calcutta, July 21: The Bengal government wants to first discuss the compensation package before providing the right of way to the National Optical Fibre Network for laying optic fibre cables in the state.

The National Optical Fibre Network is a central government digital inclusion initiative, which aims to provide Internet connectivity to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats.

The central government has formed a special purpose vehicle (SPV) — the Bharat Broadband Network — to implement the project and wants states to enter into a tripartite memorandum of understanding with the SPV and the Centre.

“We replied in June to the letter sent to us by the secretary of the department of telecom seeking right of way,” a state IT department official said.

“We have told them that a meeting should be held so that the issue of compensation can be discussed. Without that, we feel it will be detrimental to the interests of the state. We have discussed the issue with different agencies and other states such as Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat,” the official added.

While the Centre has proposed to lay telecom cables along road and rail tracks and use electrical transmission and distribution towers, it will not bear the cost of restoration of the used area.

“In their proposal, they (the Centre) want free use of our electric towers...but will not bear the restoration cost. This means an economic loss to us,” the official said.

Work can only start after an MoU is signed.

The National Optical Fibre Network project is worth Rs 20,000 crore and will be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund of the government.