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Breach of MSRDC contractual conditions leads to confiscation of mobile network equipment; Mumbaikers take to Twitter

The union Ministry of Communications Department of Telecommunications has also written to the Maharashtra Chief Secretary to bring his attention towards the issue.

Written by Vallabh Ozarkar | Mumbai |
Updated: February 6, 2022 1:43:52 am
According to the MSRDC, there are over 450 poles on the various structures on the flyovers and bridges which have been leased out by them for a period of five years to companies through a bidding process. (PTI)

The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), which rents out poles on major flyovers in Mumbai to Telecom Service Providers (TSP) or Infrastructure providers (IP) for installation of their base transceiver station (BTS) equipment for telecommunication network, has disabled over 329 equipment over non-payment of rent.

The move has raised concerns over disruption of telecom services in the city and the union Ministry of Communications Department of Telecommunications has also written to the Maharashtra Chief Secretary to bring his attention towards the issue and asked to give suitable directions to MSRDC, the state-owned corporation, in order to avoid disruption of telecom services in Mumbai during the critical phase of Covid.

The Union ministry sent a letter after the Cellular Operators Association of India (COA)’s letter on the issue.

The MSRDC, however, told The Indian Express that the disconnection was done as the period of contract had come to an end and the contractor had not paid the Rs 30 crore rent.

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BTS is an equipment which is used to establish or improve cellular and internet connectivity. The equipment works as a replacement of huge mobile towers which cannot be installed in a city like Mumbai due to space constraints.

According to the MSRDC, there are over 450 poles on the various structures on the flyovers and bridges which have been leased out by them for a period of five years to companies through a bidding process.

Officials said the BTS equipment has been seized as the company, Suyog Telematics, which had taken the poles on rent, has not paid the rent even after several notices were issued to them.

Suyog Telematics had taken 329 poles on rent in January 2016 and the period of contract ended December.

As these pole sites have been shut down by the MSRDC, Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA), an apex representative body of digital infrastructure providers in India, wrote to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray requesting for urgent intervention to maintain 24×7 telecom and internet connectivity.

COAI also wrote to the Ministry of Communications Department of Telecommunications after which K Rajaraman, IAS, secretary of the Union Ministry of Communications Department of Telecommunications wrote to the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra.

In the letter the Maharashtra Chief Secretary, COAI requested for attention in the matter to give suitable directions to MSRDC. the state-owned corporation to avoid disruption of telecom services in Mumbai at this critical phase of COVID situation.

Subsequently, the chief secretary wrote, “I would like to draw your attention that Cellular Operators Association of India (COA) has conveyed that all Telecom Service Provider in Mumbai have installed telecom BTS (Base Tower Station)/ODSC on 9 Meter poles of an Infrastructure Provider (IP) of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) on all major flyovers. Further, MSRDC has not extended the existing tender to IP vendors which expired on 31st Dec 2021.”

It further added, “Now, action is being taken by MSRDC on TSP (Suyog Telematics) in terms of forced shutdown/confiscation of material leading to loss of equipment and connectivity on critical corridors. COAI has already represented MD-MSRDC in the matter. Therefore, request your kind attention in the matter to enable suitable directions to the concern to avoid disruption of telecom services in Mumbai at this critical phase of the Covid situation.”

The MSRDC said they have given a letter of acceptance (LOA) to another company for leasing out the poles. The equipment will be installed as soon as Monday.

 

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