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Goa’s New Telecom Policy Gets Mixed Reactions From The People

Goa's New Telecom Policy
A Mobile User Trying to Get in the Range of Tower

The Statement of The Goa CM on No Permission of Local Bodies Required For Setting-up of Telecom Towers in The State Has Received a Mixed Reactions From The People of Goa.

The state cabinet approved a new Goa Telecom Infrastructure Policy 2020, wherein, no permission of any local bodies – village panchayats or municipal bodies – will be required for the set-up of any telecom towers in the state.

The decision, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said, will streamline the process for setting up of towers within the state in a move to improve connectivity issues across the state.

This single-window clearance by the PWD will allow the setting up of towers within Government, as well as private property. A proper NOC will be needed from the private landowner though, to install the tower in the private property.

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“The major change is that the permissions from local bodies will no longer be needed. But a one-time payment of Rs 50,000 will be given to the local body as a license fee. In urban and semi-urban areas it is Rs 50,000 monthly rent for the operators and in rural areas, it is half of that,” Pramod Sawant said.

He also said, “If it is in a private property, they will need permission from the landowner and can then approach the government for permissions.”

According to CM Sawant, the covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent online classes held by educational institutions across the state brought to light the poor connectivity issues across the state. Children were seen climbing hills, and even rooftops of houses, in order to get connectivity to be able to access their online education.

“Towers must be installed to get access to the network as it is the need of the hour today. Wi-Fi connections become very costly for middle-class people. However, after considering all of its (telecom towers) impacts, it must be installed,” said Shubham Pednekar.

“This a good step to enhance network connectivity in the state which was pending from a very long time due to various reasons,” said another resident.

In the past, however, several village panchayats and other local bodies have opposed the setting-up of telecom towers within their jurisdictions. Most significantly, was in 2016, when many village panchayats opposed the setting-up of mobile towers during the BRICS summit in South Goa.

“Local bodies cannot be completely neglected because it might lead to chaos, and hence there is a need for collective meetings and seminars in order to impart proper knowledge among locals with regards to installations of towers,” Shubham added.

“Towers are necessary; however, local participation is needed to take decisions forward democratically. The government could maybe have awareness drives on such instances,” added another.

The Goa IT Professional (GITP) have however welcomed this move from the government, saying that the timeline implementation of this will provide robustly and state of the art telecommunication network, with seamless internet connectivity.

“We also welcome the decision of the government to implement the policy through a single-window clearance system for overground and underground infrastructure,” they said. 

Owing to opposition from both, resident as well as various panchayats and local bodies, around 250 to 300 applications were pending approval for setting up towers. Accordingly, the same need to be submitted afresh under the new policy passed by the state cabinet.

The government will, however, prioritize setting up of towers in government properties first, the CM said.

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