Chandigarh: Smart City offers idle OFC duct on lease for telcos to lay cables : The Tribune India

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Chandigarh: Smart City offers idle OFC duct on lease for telcos to lay cables

Looks to generate Rs 25 cr revenue in upcoming fiscal; floats tender

Chandigarh: Smart City offers idle OFC duct on lease for telcos to lay cables

Cables being laid underground on Sector 29-31 road. Pradeep Tewari



Tribune News Service

Sandeep Rana

Chandigarh, March 14

The Chandigarh Smart City Limited (CSCL) has set the ball rolling to monetise its optical fibre cable (OFC) duct network on revenue-sharing model by leasing out its infrastructure to various telecom companies.

Besides earning revenue, the move is aimed at reducing damage to government utilities and inconvenience caused to general public due to repeated digging up of roads. The CSCL looks to earn Rs 25 crore under the project in the coming fiscal.

According to the Municipal Corporation, it had laid 240 km of OFC for CCTV cameras, which are connected to the Integrated Command Control Centre (ICCC), referred to as “city’s brain”.

At the time, two ducts were laid. While one was used for laying CCTV cables, the second had been lying unused. To monetise its vacant duct, the CSCL got approval from its Board of Directors to lease it out to various companies. An e-tender has now been invited from agencies/firms.

“The firms willing to lay cables had to pay for permission to dig up roads. We already have the duct and there will be no need to dig up holes or trenches in these sections and cause inconvenience to public. It is optional for companies,” CSCL CEO Anindita Mitra told Chandigarh Tribune.

Telecom operators can use the duct to lay their cables or sublet it to another party. The CSCL will be paid on a per-km-cost basis by the highest bidder. The project has been divided into three zones.

The ducts have been laid along city’s main roads, while the internal roads lack these. To connect the inner areas of sectors, the companies will have to lay cables through conventional means, which most have already done. However, there are a few that are in the process of laying their cables underground, says a senior MC official.

Interestingly, the corporation had collected Rs 12.64 crore as permission fee from various operators for laying underground cables in just three months.

This came after Chandigarh Tribune highlighted the threat of mishaps and electricity sparking due to the low-lying web of overhead cables. Following this, the civic body swung into action and started removing illegal overhead cables. It then gave an ultimatum to firms to lay cables underground, following which most applied for permission and paid the requisite fee.

While Airtel and Jio had only a handful of violations, Fastway had the maximum number of unauthorised overhead cables in the city and was in the process of laying underground cables, as per the MC official. The duct can be utilised by such companies as also new players looking to provide services in the city, adds the official.

The last date for applying for tender is March 28. The contract will initially be for 10 years and is extendable to five years.

Most wires already shifted underground

  • Duct infra is available only on main city roads; to connect inner parts of sectors, firms will have to lay cables by conventional means
  • Most firms have shifted almost their entire network underground; MC had collected Rs 12.64 crore as digging fee in just three months
  • While Airtel and Jio had very few violations, Fastway had maximum overhead cables and is in process of laying these underground
  • Duct can be utilised by such firms as also new players looking to provide services in the city, says an MC official

Digging fee paid to MC

Jio Fibre Rs 3.65 cr

Airtel Rs 2 cr

Fastway Rs 6.99 cr

Infrastructure meant for CCTV project

  • 240 km-long optical fiber cables for CCTV cameras were laid and linked to Integrated Command Control Centre as part of Smart City project
  • At the time, two ducts were laid; one used for laying CCTV cables, while the other remained unutilised, which is now being monetised
  • An e-tender has now been invited; firms can use the duct to lay own cables or sublet it. Highest bidder will pay on a per-km-cost basis

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.


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