The Cellular Operators Association and India (COAI) and the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association of India (TAIPA) have asked the municipal corporations of Delhi to de-seal the mobile towers.
Further, the industry bodies asked the corporations to avoid taking any coercive action against telcos for non-compliance citing growing pressure to ensure the working of telecom networks amid COVID-19 outbreak.
In a joint letter to the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) Commissioner dated March 27, 2020, the Delhi-based telecom groups sought necessary directives to de-seal the telecom sites which were sealed on a temporary basis to cope up with the current data demand.
In the letter, the industry bodies stated that seamless operations of the telecom infrastructure comprising telecom towers and optic fibre cable (OFC) are necessary to ensure uninterrupted connectivity round the clock to support work from home, delivery of various critical services and maintain communication across the state including for those involved in the rescue and preventive operations against Coronavirus at various levels.
Several mobile towers across Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) have been sealed on account of non-compliance of local laws and non-payment of dues.
However, the industry bodies did not specify the number of sealed sites and ones under scrutiny by local authorities. As per industry sources, south Delhi has a maximum number of such sites which are non-operational.
Meanwhile, TAIPA has ensured the availability and reliability of telecom services amid COVID-19. TAIPA’s statement comes in the back of the government allowing public and private employees to work from home.
As per TAIPA, its telecom field engineers are maintaining and upgrading the capacity via on-site visits across India on a 24×7 basis. Further, the industry body added that the chief secretaries of more than 30 states/ union territories (UTs) have issued orders exempting telecom from imposed restrictions under the essential services category after the telecom body submitted recommendations.