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LMC’s broadband, cable wires removal causes network disruption

Cable and broadband operators in the capital city are crying foul after the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) in coordination with Lucknow Electricity Supply Administration (LESA) started removing their wires from electricity and street light poles. The operators claimed that around one lakh consumers in Lucknow have been affected.

Tony Sikka, director of Sikka Cables Network, said the cables were cut off from the poles by the authorities without informing them.

“Despite the assurances by the authorities to provide us with the facility of the underground duct for our wires first, they have started removing our wires from all parts of the city,” Sikka said.

He said, on the one hand, the groundbreaking ceremonies are being organised to support the business but on the other hand the ongoing businesses were being ruined.

“The bigger companies are asked to pay just ₹1000 per kilometre rent but the small operators like us are supposed to pay ₹1500 per metre for laying underground cables. This is like killing small businesses for domination of the giants,” Sikka added.

However, an LMC official said, “Besides spoiling the skyline, the cable operators were not paying a single penny for the poles, which they were using for their business. So, the LMC and LESA reserve the right to remove any sort of encroachment from its poles.”

An official of LESA said, “There was a mesh of cable wires on LESA poles which had to be cleaned before the investors’ summit. The cable TV operators were served notice to remove the wires well in advance. They didn’t follow the order and the district authorities had to remove the cables.”

The cable operators claimed that cables worth ₹10 crore have already been damaged. “If at all, we have to lay the cables again, it will take at least a month to do so,” an operator, who didn’t want to be named, said.

“Cable television and broadband industry were already facing challenges due to the Covid pandemic but now the ₹300 crore industry has suffered a body blow. I don’t know whether our business will recover or not,” said an official of Netvision, a company affected by the removal of wires.

Additional municipal commissioner Pankaj Singh said, “The LMC poles are for street lights, not for the cable network. If they want to have their cable, they can raise their poles with the permission of the authorities.” The cable operators say that the LMC should have provided alternative routes as per directives of district authorities in the past before removing the wires. Hindustan Times

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