FIR against Tata Sky and Airtel as water pipes get damaged during OFC laying

The contractors hired by the service providers have not yet furnished any documents showing they had permission from the BBMP before digging.
Water meter in a Bengaluru residence
Water meter in a Bengaluru residence
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A First Information Report (FIR) was filed against Tata Sky and Airtel after residents of Kasavanahalli of Bengaluru filed a complaint that they were left without water for two days after water pipes were damaged when authorities dug up roads to install underground Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) which are used to provide high speed internet. The residents alleged that several water lines that supplied water to the residents were damaged when the roads were dug up, leading to a water leak. The water leak was detected on Monday by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB).

According to the residents, the contractor hired by Tata Sky and Airtel started to dig roads around mid-February but had to stop after residents demanded the contractor to produce documents that permitted the digging up of roads.

“The workers suddenly turned up and started digging the roads to lay the cables," Vishnu Prasad, a a resident of Kasavanahalli, told TNM. "We got them to stop the work until they showed the documents from Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) authorising them to do so. instead, they started to work at night. We had to call the police to get them to stop. Later, they came with documents of the permissions, but the permission was not granted for all roads. Yet, they continued work and it seems they weren’t too professional and so pipes got damaged."

He added, “Some residents received muddy water from their taps because mud entered the pipes where they got damaged. Many others did not get water at all.”

The issue was later resolved on Wednesday as the contractor fixed the damaged pipes after the BWSSB filed a complaint and a FIR was lodged against the Internet Service Providers.

“The contractor had damaged the pipes and after we got the FIR registered, the contractor fixed the issue. Now everything is resolved," said Elisabeth Michele, Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) of the BWSSB.

On being asked if the contractor had taken the permission from the BBMP, she added, “We have asked them to furnish the document but the contractor hasn’t shown them to us yet.”

Prior to any such works on roads, it is mandatory for the contractor or the company to take necessary permission from BBMP and any violation will attract legal action.

“According to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the BBMP, this kind of OFC laying requires permission of the corporation and if any person violates any part of the permission agreement, his permission becomes null and void. If he proceeds, then they are liable to pay nearly Rs 25 lakh,” said an official from BBMP who wished to remain anonymous.

When TNM spoke to the concerned Assistant Executive Engineer Arun, he said that the contractor had taken all the necessary permissions.

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