To regulate installation of mobile towers and laying of optical fiber cable(OFC), the state cabinet led by chief minister Naveen Patnaikon has approved a dedicated policy.

The policy to be known as mobile tower, OFC and related infrastructure Policy- 2017, has emphasised in streamlining the process of application and grant of permission in reasonable time frame, liberal permission fees and rationalisation of the procedure.

"In absence of a definite policy, at present installation of mobile towers and laying of OFC are being regulated by guidelines issued by the housing and urban development and revenue and disaster management department," said chief secretary A P Padhi.

Briefing the media after the meeting, Padhi said the policy, to be notified by the state electronic and information and technology department (E&IT), will have details of places where the telecom companies can install towers.

Asked whether the government brought the policy keeping in mind the health hazards due to installation of mobile towers, E&IT secretary A K Meena said the purpose is to provide a single window platform to the mobile tower and telecom-related infrastructure companies to obtain clearances.

"The policy covers the modalities for installation of mobile towers, cell on wheels, micro cell, in building solutions and setting up of equipments. It will streamline the process of application and grant of permission for installation of such equipments," Meena said. To queries over rampant violations by the authorities in granting permission to the telecom companies in installation of infrastructures, Meena said there is provision of dealing with public grievances relating to installation of towers and issues related to telecom infrastructure in the policy. "People can approach the regulatory authorities at district and state levels," he added.

To strengthen the mobile connectivity in hilly and geographically disadvantaged districts, the state government has made special provisions in the policy for eight districts under the Koraput-Bolangir-Kalahandi regions and other left wing extremism-hit districts.

"It will help in establishment of modern telecommunication infrastructure to provide high speed internet in rural areas. It will also improve terrestrial broadband connectivity in both urban and rural areas," the chief secretary said.

While Block Development Officers will be the regulatory authorities to grant permissions for installation of the infrastructures, the municipal authorities will be the authorities in urban areas for the purpose.  – TOI