In a significant development, the Government of Punjab has addressed a long-standing demand of telecom operators by appointing a dedicated focal person to tackle right-of-way (ROW) issues.
The move aims to streamline and expedite dispute resolution between telecom operators and local authorities, particularly in cases involving housing societies and private lands.
The Board of Revenue Punjab’s administrative branch issued a notification, designating Syed Najaf Iqbal (Member Judicial-II) as the focal person for the appropriate government forum.
This decision aligns with Section 27-A (6&7) of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Reorganization) (Amendment) Act, 2005, highlighting the government’s commitment to resolving ROW disputes effectively.
Telecom operators have warmly welcomed this proactive step, emphasizing its potential to bring about comprehensive solutions to their longstanding ROW challenges. Despite the approval of the right-of-way policy, operators had encountered persistent issues, especially in dealings within housing societies and private lands.
The appointment of Syed Najaf Iqbal as the focal person for the appropriate government forum is expected to facilitate the timely resolution of disputes, providing a clear path for addressing concerns related to charges and other matters between landowners and operators. The right-of-way policy stipulates that disputes will be referred to the “appropriate government” for resolution.
While the Federal Government, KP, Balochistan, and Sindh had previously nominated representatives for the “appropriate government” forum, a delay from Punjab’s side had been a point of concern. With the recent appointment, this delay has been addressed, ensuring that telecom operators in Punjab now have a designated authority to turn to for dispute resolution.
Before this development, the Ministry of Information Technology had formed a committee under the Federal Secretary MOITT to address right-of-way disputes in the absence of an appropriate government forum.