IT Ministry Establishes Committee to Settle Telco-Landowner Disputes

The Ministry of IT and Telecom (MoITT) has established a committee to address issues related to the right of way (RoW) for telecom infrastructure. This committee will consist of officials from the Ministry of IT and Telecom and representatives from telecom companies.

Telecom operators had requested the formation of this committee due to ongoing challenges despite the approval of the right-of-way policy. The right-of-way policy governs disputes between landowners and telecom operators regarding charges and other matters. If a disagreement arises, the issue is supposed to be resolved by the “appropriate government,” which includes federal and provincial governments.

However, there is a delay in cases being processed because Punjab, the largest province, has not yet nominated a representative for the “appropriate government.” According to GM Nayatel Aqeel Khurshid, while many issues have been resolved since the policy’s approval, some problems still exist, especially regarding working within housing societies. These housing societies often demand fees from telecom companies for installing infrastructure on right-of-way poles.

The committee’s formation aims to address and resolve these issues and streamline the implementation of the right-of-way policy. Aqeel Khurshid also noted that there have been delays in cases being referred to the IT Ministry by the PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority), causing unnecessary delays in resolving disputes related to the right of way.