Goa okays single-window clearance for setting up mobile towers

The Goa Cabinet on Wednesday approved the state Telecom Infrastructure policy which will enable single-window clearance for the setting up of mobile telephony towers and laying of telecom cables in the state.
Cellular towers in China
The new telecom policy in Goa will do away with the need for clearances from local elected bodies, IANS reported.

Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant said the new policy would help create the much needed infrastructure to ensure wider reach of mobile and Internet networks in the state. Goa has been struggling to start its online education initiatives due to a poor cellular network and data connectivity.

“The state has been divided into urban, semi-urban and rural clusters. Permissions from local bodies will not be required for setting up mobile towers or laying of cables,” Pramod Sawant told a press conference.

Pramod Sawant said the focus of the telecom policy was to allow mobile and Internet service providers to use existing government land to erect mobile phone towers following payment of a one-time licence fee to local bodies and standard rent for use of government property.

The Goa government has fixed the rent for mobile operators to erect a tower in the urban and semi-urban areas at Rs 50,000 and Rs 25,000 in the rural areas. Mobile operators need to pay a one-time fee of Rs 50,000 to the local bodies as licence fee.

“Tapping of government properties for setting up these towers is our priority, privately-owned land can also be used for setting up these towers. We are also providing them with a single-window clearance for these proposals,” Sawant said.

The state government could not launch a full-scale online teaching module for students due to poor mobile network coverage in the state, especially in the hinterland which has a hilly terrain.

Cellular and data providers have complained to the state government on numerous occasions about the hardships faced by them vis-a-vis obtaining permissions from local panchayats and municipal bodies.

Goa chief minister said that nearly 300 to 350 applications for erection of mobile towers in the state are pending.