The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued a directorate to Chief Secretaries across India to accept Online applications through the GatiShakti Sanchar Portal to enhance broadband connectivity in the country. This move from DoT has been appreciated by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). The ‘GatiShakti Sanchar’ Portal for Right of Way approvals was inaugurated on May 14, 2022, by the Minister of Communication, Electronics & IT and Railways. The inauguration took place in the presence of the Department of Telecommunication, Industry and senior officials of 36 States/UTs via video call.
The Need for the Directorate
The directorate issued by the DoT will enable a speedy grant of RoW permissions, the quick rollout of broadband across the country, and more transparency in the system and hence, taking a step forward in the Digital India vision. The network infrastructure is one of the significant aspects for the telecom operators in India when it comes to the 5G network rollout and when it comes to the Right of Way (RoW) permission, we are still quite behind.
However, the ‘GatiShakti Sanchar’ Portal is a central collaborative platform between all stakeholders, including Central and State/UT Government(s), Local bodies, and Service Providers to facilitate the faster RoW deployment to boost Digital Infrastructure in the country. The director-general of COAI, Dr SP Kochhar in a statement said that the portal would help enable a faster rollout of the 5G network in India by drastically reducing the time taken by telecom service providers and infrastructure providers to obtain clearances for installation of Telecom Towers and to lay optic fibre cables.
Notably, the RoW issue plays a crucial role in the 5G network deployment and if it isn’t sorted out then it might create some hindrances. The DoT field units have also been previously instructed to conduct monthly meetings with service providers to review the application approval process and pendency. DoT had also earlier directed state secretaries and department heads of state governments to ensure quick disposal of RoW applications in their states. State broadband committees have also been asked to follow the state policy with Central RoW Rule-2016.