BANGALORE, November 29: The total length of the optical fibre cable (OFC) network in Bangalore is 10 times more than what is legally approved, resulting in loss of crores to the exchequer, a Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) committee has estimated.
In an interim report, the committee members have said they will seek a probe by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the matter.
Seventeen OFC service providers have laid nearly 65,000 km of OFC ducts, although BBMP’s permission has been sought for only 6,500 km, according to the 4,732-page interim report, which will be placed before the BBMP council on Friday.
The service providers have submitted an affidavit in the Karnataka High Court that their network length was 6,140 km, but in reality, it is about 65,000 km, as multiple ducts have been placed after seeking permission for single duct, the report charged.
The 10-member committee was set up to look into the loss to the civic body because of unauthorised cables and allegations that BBMP officials were hand in glove with the service providers. It has been alleged that some former officials and elected representatives also own a portion of this illegal network. Leading telecom and Internet service providers have been named in the report.
Extent of network
In Bangalore, it estimated that 12 lakh Internet users, about 3,750 software companies and at least 1,000 business process outsourcing companies are completely dependent on the OFC network, as well as a large number of hospitals and commercial establishments.
Those seeking to lay underground OFC pay Rs. 600 per running meter for right of way. BBMP is expected to start imposing ‘annual track rent’ that could give the cash-strapped body a fixed annual income and some respite.
“BBMP has spent hundreds of crores to fill and fix the roads and pits dug up by the 17 OFC service providers. The network has eaten up public space worth Rs. 10,400 crore, as it cannot be used for any other purpose. However, BBMP has received only Rs. 58 crore in the last 15 years as fee,” N.R. Ramesh, a committee member, told presspersons here on Thursday.
He alleged that OFC had been laid recklessly in the city, most often with the connivance of BBMP officers, thus causing loss to exchequer.
Besides, copper cables have been laid to a length of 7,000 km without permission and without payment of fee, he charged.