The Minister of Communications expects legal support for RoW by December

The Minister of Communications expects legal support for RoW by December

As the country prepares for 5G roll-out, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced on Saturday that legal underpinning for Right of Way (RoW) will be in place by December and inaugurated the GatiShakti Sanchar platform, which will centralize and speed up permissions for laying fiber and tower installations.

The Minister of Communications expects legal support for RoW by December

The GatiShakti Sanchar portal offers a consistent, integrated, centralised method covering all states and UTs, as well as central government ministries, for industry to apply for RoW clearances as they create telecom infrastructure, especially for 5G services.

The GatiShakti Sanchar portal will make right-of-way (RoW) approvals more centralized.

For players, it promises to reduce the days involved in getting stipulated permissions, lower costs, and facilitate ease of doing business.

At present, RoW rules are based on administrative process, and a strong legal backing is required to empower local officials, bring clarity on the fee structure, and fix accountability, he explained.

Launching the portal, Vaishnaw asserted the need for legal provisions for Right of Way, and promised that a strong legal backing will be put in place by December this year.

“That will be our next step. Moreover, all the portals that are there, especially Gati Shakti portal, railway portal, highway portal, and others… integration of those… We will be working on these two technological and legal aspects,” Vaishnaw said.

Work has started on these two fronts already, and the integration of portals is expected in the next 3-4 months while the timelines for providing legal backing is December-end.

Asked if legal provisions for RoW will also entail penalties if approval timelines are not met, the minister said generally accountability and penalty tend to be linked. “… otherwise, it is about deemed approval,” he said.

The new GatiShakti Sanchar portal is expected to significantly ease the process of RoW approvals for laying down of infrastructure by players, and offers a centralised and unified approach to permissions.

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