The state government issued an order today banning the use of electricity poles to string up fibre optic cables unless permission is obtained from the Senior Electricity Inspector.
In a release, the Inspectorate of Electricity said it has noted that optical fibre cables (OFCs) have been strung “randomly” in several districts of the state “without considering the strength, aging, clearance from electric lines as per relevant regulations and factor of safety of the electric poles.”
This could put the lives of people at risk as well as be a risk to property, the inspectorate said, as the poles could bend or collapse from the strain of coiled up OFCs. Being a state that experiences heavy storms, high winds and variable temperatures, Meghalaya has to be extra cautious when it comes to electricity poles and the weight they can bear, the release added.
There have been incidents where heavy vehicles have ripped low-strung OFCs, thereby damaging the poles and electricity lines, causing power disruption, voltage surges and damage to electrical devices.
The growth in broadband connectivity in Shillong and elsewhere in recent years has been done without due permission being sought from the inspectorate for the use of the electricity poles as support for the OFCs, which is in contravention of the Central Electricity Authority Regulations 2010.
OFCs that have already been strung up may have to be removed if they are causing damage to the electricity poles, the inspectorate said, and this could have implications on internet connectivity.
Considering the need for utmost safety and under provisions of the Electricity Act 2003, it is directed that permission and clearance shall have to be sought from the Inspectorate of Electricity for stringing of OFCs on any electric poles. Officials from the inspectorate will then conduct an inspection and check the feasibility for necessary clearance and accord approval.
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