TAIPA: Maharashtra Could Face Telecom Network Issues if Lockdown is Implemented

TAIPA: Maharashtra Could Face Telecom Network Issues if Lockdown is Implemented

The Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) has said that another lockdown in Maharashtra could bring about telecom connectivity issues for citizens of the state. 

TAIPA said that the restrictions placed by local authorities in the event of a lockdown could impact the ability of firms to maintain and update the network infrastructure, thus leading to connectivity issues.

Director General at TAIPA, TR Dua said, “The situation is very alarming as the infrastructure providers continue to face coercive threats from one municipal corporation or the other each day.” 

“We are afraid, it is going to hurt not only the investor's sentiment but also make the common public life difficult in absence of sound telecom infrastructure which is fundamental to digital services like work from home, remote meeting, e-education etc besides meeting the basic needs of voice and data services,” Dua added.

TAIPA has also alleged that municipal corporations and local officials aren’t willing to accept the telecom infrastructure policy drafted on February 17, 2018, which was then notified by the State in August 2018. 

The industry body went on to say that state officials continue to follow their own policies, circulars, as well as resolutions. The fear of coercive action in the form of sealing or disconnection of the tower sites is also a concern, TAIPA said.

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“Nagpur, Bhivandi Nizampur, Pimpri Chinchwad, MCGM, Mira Bhayender, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Kalyan Dombivali have come up with their own circulars and resolutions etc. Concerns are exorbitant fees up to Rs 2 Lakh per tower for regularization and stringent documentation,” TAIPA clarified.

“This non-approval of existing towers leads to coercive action. Property tax is very high and on top of it, Shasti penalty is levied for non-regularised towers by considering them as unauthorised by MCs such as MCGM, Aurangabad, Vasai Virar and MBMC," it went on to say.

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TAIPA further said that telecom infrastructure firms are facing several issues due to public issues, non-regularisation, and Shasti (the regional term for penalty). The body added that Shasti was collected despite a stay issued by the Bombay High Court’s Aurangabad bench. 

This comes as Maharashtra is facing a new spike of coronavirus cases with March 25 seeing the addition of 31,855 new cases according to data obtained from the Aarogya Setu app. 

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