The Electronic Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT) has been designated as the nodal agency for the purposes of the Indian Telegraph Right of Way Rules (RoW), 2016, and for developing a single electronic application process for telecom service and infrastructure providers to apply online for grant of RoW permissions, with immediate effect.  The single electronic application process has been mandated by the rules.

The principal secretary, Information Technology and Digital Services, has been nominated as the dispute resolution officer. ELCOT’s managing director will be the grievance redress officer to handle telecom-related issues and RoW portal issues. Meanwhile, the collectors of all districts and the Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner will act as the nodal officers for their respective jurisdictions. They are authorised to issue RoW permissions. 

Further, a government order issued by J. Kumaragurubaran, secretary, Information Technology and Digital Services, said the subject, ‘telecom infrastructure’, and related items had so far been handled by the Information Technology and Digital Services department itself. However, after the Indian Telegraph RoW Rules, 2016, were notified by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), and the release of the Tamil Nadu Telecom Infrastructure Policy, 2022, a large amount of communication relating to the establishment, strengthening and monitoring of telecom infrastructure was received from the telecom service and infrastructure providers, the apex bodies of cellular and telecom infrastructure operators and DoT. This resulted in a multi-fold increase in records and affected the monitoring of the telecom projects and resolution of the disputes and grievances of telecom service and infrastructure providers.

As per the order, going forward, ELCOT will handle all matters pertaining to underground cables, overground towers, the use of the ‘Call Before-U-Dig’ app and matters relating to the 5G roll-out. The grievance redress officer will handle petitions, requests and grievances from telecom service and infrastructure providers and members of the public over the erection or removal of cell phone towers and telecom infrastructure.