In a letter addressed to telecom secretary Anshu Prakash, the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) has stated that state governments and union territories (UTs) are obstructing installation of mobile towers due to lack of clarification from the central government on the activities that are permitted amidst easing of lockdown restrictions.

As per TAIPA, the industry has played a vital role during the lockdown to support work from home, online education and other economic activities by keeping networks up and running round the clock. It also raised concerns regarding some pending issues that are hampering expansion of telecom network.

Further, T.R. Dua, director general, TAIPA stated that states/UTs are construing the installation of telecom towers as construction activity. The industry body has already requested the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for clarification to the states/UTs in this regard. However, the same is still pending.

He said telecom towers are movable structures which are fixed on the ground through nuts and bolts, and cannot be construed as part of construction activity.

TAIPA also sought DoT’s intervention to de-seal mobile sites that have been sealed by various local bodies and other authorities across major cities. It further stated that only 16 states are following the central government’s right of way (RoW) Rules, 2016 that were issued to ease installation of mobile towers across the country.

TAIPA also sought implementation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recommendations to expand the scope of infrastructure providers.