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Corporation plans ducting of cables for better revenue

Staff Reporter

City has about 2,000 km of overhead optical fibre cables

— Photo: S.S.Kumar

TANGLED: Overhead cables hang low over a stretch of the Arcot Road in Kodambakkam.

Chennai: The Corporation stands to generate substantial revenue if its proposal to duct overhead cables underground across the city takes off.

At present, the city has about 2,000 km of overhead optical fibre cables that were provided with the approval of the Corporation. But some cable TV operators and Internet service providers have run several kilometres of cables without the Corporation’s permission, incurring a loss of revenue to the tune of several lakhs of rupees to the civic body. It charges a track rent of Rs. 9,400 per km per annum.

Officials said it was difficult to detect if overhead cables were approved or unapproved. Some companies replaced faulty cables without removing dead wires.

The growth in the communications service provisions industry resulted in the increase in the number of overhead cables that marred the cityscape.

These reasons led the Corporation to hold a consultation with Internet service providers and cable TV operators including VSNL, Reliance, Hathway, SCV, Kal Communications and You Tel.

The firms agreed to form a consortium to lay a common underground duct through which their cables could be passed in separate pipes.

Nungambakkam High Road and Anna Nagar Second Avenue Road have been chosen for pilot projects. The ducts would be laid on both sides of the roads.

Work along 1.5-kilometre stretch on Nungambakkam High Road has already commenced.

The proposal to extend the project through the city would be brought before the Corporation Council for its approval on August 30.

Last year, the Corporation earned Rs. 1.61 crore from the track rent.

For non-payment of track rent, the Corporation sends demand notices to the firms. Keeping a record of non-payments and unapproved cables would become simpler after the laying of a common duct, said officials.

The duct would have inspection chambers at several points to facilitate repairs and maintenance without making frequent road cuts.

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