Even as the city Corporation has decided to increase the rent on Galvanised Iron (GI) poles laid by telecom companies, the civic body is pursuing revenue recovery proceedings against Reliance Communication Limited which has not paid the rent for its poles since 2017-18 despite multiple reminders.
According to information from the finance wing of the civic body, the company owes the Corporation a total amount of ₹64 lakh in rents for GI poles and Electronic Display Panels (EDP).
Reliance Communication had put up 4,000 poles and 89 EDPs in different parts of the city.
No rent payment for these have happened from the company’s side after the payment of a part of the rent in 2017-18.
Since then, the Corporation has been sending notices to the debt-ridden company, to no avail.
“We have done prompt follow-up and issued notices at regular intervals. In November 2020, the Corporation initiated revenue recovery proceedings. Since the company is now debt-ridden, the National Company Law Tribunal is taking up a resolution plan. So, whenever funds get credited to the company, it is distributed to all those institutions to which it owes money. We decided to go ahead with the revenue recovery, rather than wait for these meagre amounts. Recently, we came to know that they had approached the taluk office with an offer to make a part of the payment, but the Corporation is pressing for full payment of the dues,” said a Corporation official.
The pole rents were fixed at ₹150 and EDP rent at ₹1,000 in 2015-16. In 2017, the Corporation council decided to hike the pole rent to ₹5,000.
However, this move was opposed by companies including Reliance Jio, citing the fact that it was too high compared to the rents fixed by the other urban local bodies. As the finance committee found that the maximum rate in other local bodies is ₹500, it was decided to increase the pole rent to ₹500 and EDP rent to ₹1,600 in a council meeting held in December 2019. In the council meeting held on Saturday, it was decided to increase the pole rent further to ₹750, while keeping the EDP rent fixed.
Jio pays rent
Meanwhile, Reliance Jio which has 37,522 poles in different parts of the city has paid the pole rents till February 2021. EDP rents are not applicable to the company. It will not have to pay the revised rent at ₹750 per pole for the previous year.