After agreeing in principle to allow Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, which is bringing in 4G technologies in Kolkata to dig the city’s underground, Trinamool-controlled Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) authorities have been forced to allow Bharti Airtel Limited too.
After a meeting with Airtel officials, member, mayorin-council (engineering and health) Atin Ghosh said, “We have offered same draft licence agreement, fees and charges to Airtel as had been given to Reliance on Monday.
Let both of them come back with their feedback and we would take an immediate decision thereon.”
KMC authorities and Airtel officials in a joint press conference on Wednesday announced that Airtel would come up with its feedback on the licence agreement, which includes proposal for licence fees and micro-tunnelling fees for digging up the Kolkata streets within a week.
“KMC had given us a draft agreement and a book with rates and fees for micro-tunnelling. We will reach a settlement in 7-10 days after our internal discussion and vetting by our legal department and expect to start off the expansion project by this month,” PD Sharma, CEO Airtel Hub, East India, said.
Sharma added that Airtel first launched its 4G service in Kolkata in April last year and now wants to go for an extensive expansion. “We want to lay down 500-1,000 km in Kolkata and expect to complete the underground work by December this year.”
Airtel had been planning an investment of R3,000 crore in Kolkata.
Airtel too would use modern technologies like Horizontal Direction Drilling (HDD) and micro-trenching to dig up and lay the fibres across 500-1000 km in KMC area.
KMC engineers had asked for complete footage of the underground along with video recordings of the city’s underneath as record to prepare an underground master plan, which the civic authorities do not possess.