The government has notified the policy for establishing telecom towers and related infrastructure in areas under the Ministry of Defence (MoD). It will not only allow companies to easily set up towers, but also share infrastructure in these areas. The MoD owns more than 17.50 lakh acre of land, of which around 1.57 lakh acre is spread over 62 notified cantonments and around 15.96 lakh acre is outside these cantonments. “MoD has notified the policy for telecom towers in its area. The Department of Telecom (DoT) was also consulted on this. Like in other parts, MoD-controlled areas also need towers to match up to the rising demand, especially for data. Besides, companies can also share the infrastructure in these areas,”a senior government official said. Post notification, telecom towers companies will be installing towers in cantonments in Delhi, Meerut, Ambala, Agra, Bangaluru, etc. This will help check problems related to call drops and call disruption, the official said.
Confirming the development, another official said this was decided by the government in September last year, which was later approved by the Cabinet. It was notified by MoD in February this year. The policy covers allotment of defence land on lease for static towers as well as permission to use land on a licence basis for placing cell towers on wheels, permitting use of rooftop in government and private buildings, including private land in cantonments and military stations to companies registered with DoT as infrastructure providers, the official said. “It also stipulates approvals in 60 days, site allocation through tender process as well as lease rental to be decided through a bidding process. Another positive feature is that MoUs can be inked between tower companies for sharing. For instance, BSNL or Indus can install a tower that can be shared by Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio,” he explained.
Telecom tower industry body TAIPA has hailed the development. “This will help improve coverage gap and reduce call drops in and around military stations and cantonment areas. It will also facilitate the public for making use of digital infrastructure. Besides, it will fulfil the objective of Digital India and broadband for all,” TAIPA director general Tilak Raj Dua said.