Applications pending approval by the Indian Airport Authority (AAI) and the Joint Communications and Electronic Personnel (JCES) will be deemed approved from now on if they are not processed within 30 days of the filing date, LD Meghwal, Senior Vice President of Wireless Advisor in Department of Telecommunications, wrote in a letter dated January 12 to AAI’s general manager and JCES director.
A copy of the letter was also marked to the Secretaries-General of the States and Union Territories where such approvals are lacking, and to the Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. ET has seen a copy of the letter.
The letter stated: “The permit must have the following condition: ‘The physical construction of the tower must not begin until the 16th day after the issuance of the permit’.”
The government had put in place measures to simplify the process of approval from the Standing Advisory Committee on Radio Frequency Allocations (SACFA) for the installation of telecommunication towers, including self-declaration-based, automated timed approvals.
Every telecom operator requires approval from SACFA regarding the height and location of any tower it plans to install anywhere. Both AAI and JCES are members of SACFA. A significant number of approvals come from AAI.
In 2015, AAI added 121 (now 97) unlicensed state-controlled airports to the protection list, Meghwal said. However, they show that they are not in a position to deal with the pending cases concerning these airports. The 97 airports are spread across 23 states or UTs, he added. The delay in obtaining approvals greatly affects the roll-out and expansion of telecommunications networks, and it affects the proliferation of broadband, especially in rural and underserved areas, he said.
According to the letter, no runway / airport will be recognized by SACFA’s location approval system if it has not obtained the necessary permits / approvals from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation or AAI.