Pune: Plans afoot to get overhead cables shifted underground | Pune News – Times of India

PUNE: Dangling overhead cables that obstruct the view to the sky may be a thing of the past in the New Year, with the municipal corporation chalking out steps to install them under the ground.
A survey has found nearly 7,500km-long cables criss-crossing the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) areas against the civic body’s policy. The private cellular and internet service provider companies would have to shift all these overhead cables in the ducts under the streets.
According to PMC officials, the TV companies, cellphone firms and internet service providers have put in the cables. The PMC has approached and asked them to complete the process of shifting these cables. A private agency has been appointed for the survey. It will be a continuous process.
The areas where ducts are not available, PMC will allow the firms to dig up the roads. The firms concerned will have to pay the road-digging and restoration charges. “These firms must come forward and confirm the cables used by their firms. If nobody comes to claim the cable in a particular area, PMC will cut that cable. It will be termed as illegal,” said V G Kulkarni, the head of the PMC’s road department.
He said the firms must come and give the timetable for converting the overhead cables to underground cables. The timetable will be yearly.
According to PMC, it charges around Rs13,000 per km for road digging and restoration charges. The firms will have to pay 10% as advance before digging up the roads for conversion.
The civic activists claimed that the initiative to promote underground cabling was good, but the whole conversion did not seem feasible. If proper precautions are not taken, it may promote road-digging and corruption. This ultimately causes suffering to common citizens.
“The priority should be given to shift the cables in the ducts. This will be less troublesome for people. Otherwise, commuters will be hassled with dug up roads,” said Vivek Velankar of Sajag Nagrik Manch, a citizens forum.
According to activists, some politicians have used road-digging and restoration as a source of income. They have helped in letting the firms lay the cables without proper permissions. The new policy should not promote such practices.
“The amount to be paid for conversion is huge from overhead to underground. So, many telecom companies will not prefer to pay this amount. Hence, the conversion is not very feasible. Precautions are a must to ensure that the initiative does not lead to a new source of malpractice,” said Sudarshan Yadav, a consultant for cellular companies and cable operators.