Optical fibre cable (OFC) operators will now have time till February 2020 to lay underground cables in Bengaluru. This is after the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) allowed OFC operators time till February 7, 2020, to lay cables underground.
This could inconvenience residents in the city since several roads might be dug up before the deadline.
The BBMP, after amending the permissions given for installing OFCs, had earlier stated that October 15 is the deadline to lay cables underground. This was done to ensure cables are not hung in public places.
On October 15, the BBMP said it had withdrawn all permissions to lay OFCs underground in the city. This was after contractors working with Airtel and Jio were found to have dug up newly laid roads to lay underground OFCs without seeking permission.
Both telecom companies were fined Rs 25 lakh and were also made to pay for 'road cutting' and restoration charges.
A contractor working with Airtel had dug up a recently asphalted 1.5 km stretch on Bannerghatta Road, while a contractor working for Reliance Jio had dug up a road in Sarjapur without prior permission.
The BBMP then decided to allow underground OFCs to be laid and has now given seven weeks for the works to be completed.
The civic body has also stated that all roads dug up to lay the cables will be restored and that Rs 1.3 lakh per kilometre will be collected from the OFC operators for the same. The money will be collected while issuing permissions to operators to lay cables. The OFC operator also has to ensure that the roads get a 'Satisfactory Work Done' report from the BBMP after it is relaid.