Centre asks States to ensure Right of Way to cable ops for implementing DAS

NEW DELHI: In a move that will give a sigh of relief to cable operators all over the country, the Centre has written to state governments to give ‘right of way’ to cable operators who want to lay cables or erect posts to complete the work of digital addressable system (DAS).

In a letter, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry said that Section 48 of the Cable television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 is clear in this regard.

The letter notes that Phase I and II of DAS have been successfully completed and efforts are on to implement the next two phases which have been modified to 31 March 2015 for all other urban areas (Municipal Corporations/Municipalities) and rest of India by 31 December 2015.

Additional secretary Jitendra Shankar Mathur has in his letter asked the chief secretaries in all states to issue instructions to field officers to extend the facility of ‘right of way’ to the cable operators.

He has also suggested that copy of his letter may be appended to the instructions to be sent to field officers, and said he was prepared to answer any queries in this regard.

Sec 48 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act 2011 regarding Right of Way (RoW)

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, any cable operator entitled for providing cable seNices may from time to time lay and establish cables and erect posts under, over, along, across, in or upon any  immovable  property  vested  in or  under  the  control  or  management  of a public authority.

(2) Any public authority under whose control or management any immovable property is vested may, on receipt of a request from a cable operator,  permit the cable operator  to do all or any of the following acts, namely:-

a)   to place and maintain underground cables or posts; and

b)   to enter on the property, from time to time, in order to place, examine, repair, after or remove such cables or posts.

(3)   The facility of right of way under this section for laying underground cables, and erecting posts, shall be available to all cable operators subject to the obligation of reinstatement or restoration of the property or payment of reinstatement or restoration charges in respect thereof at the option of the public authority.

(4) When the public authority, in public interest considers it necessary and expedient that the underground cable or post placed by any cable operator under the provisions of this section, should be removed or shifted or its position altered, it may require the cable operator to remove it or shift it or alter its position, as the case may be, at its own cost in the time frame indicated by public authority.

(5)  The  Central  Government  may  lay  down  appropriate  guidelines  to enable  the  State Governments to put in place an appropriate mechanism for speedy clearance of requests from cable operators for laying cables or erecting posts on any property vested in, or under the control or management of, any public authority and for settlement of disputes, including refusal of permission by the public authority.

(6) Any permission granted by a public authority under this section may be given subject to such reasonable conditions as that  public  authority thinks fit to impose as to the payment of any expenses, or time or mode of execution of any work, or as to any other matter connected with or related to any work undertaken by the cable operator in exercise of those rights.

(7)  Nothing in this section shall confer any right upon any cable operator other than that of user for the purpose only of laying underground cable or erecting posts or maintaining them.

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