Shimla: Himachal Pradesh High Court directed BSNL to prepare a road map for installing the solar latest panels initially with regard to 191 towers, which are situated in extremely backward areas of Himachal Pradesh and thereafter get the same approved from the concerned quarters within a period of one month from today and report compliance on the next date of hearing.

The court pointed out major issues for inadequate bandwidth or broadband signal is the erratic supply of electricity in backward and far-flung areas of the state, more particularly, the tribal areas.

These observations were made by the division bench of the High Court comprising of Justice Tarlok Chauhan and Justice Chander Bhushan Barowalia on 28 June while hearing a public interest litigation.

During the hearing the official of the BSNL that even though they have solar back up but the same is based on outdated and obsolete technology using Lead Acid Battery (Vral Battery). Therefore, in the given circumstances, we are of the considered view that old and outdated technology needs to be phased out gradually and the batteries need to be replaced by Lithium-Nickle-Cobalt-Aluminium (NCA) Lithium-Nickle-Magnese-Cobalt (NMC), Lithium-Iron-Phosphate batteries or any other batteries with latest technology in a phased manner.

On the previous date(s) of hearing, the court had asked the learned Standing Counsel for the HPSEBL to obtain instructions, as to why, there are frequent shut downs of the main transmission line for carrying out even minor repairs in one of the distribution lines.

Sanjeev Maria (Op. South), on 28 June apprised this Court that HPSEBL is already seized of the matter and would be resolving this issue shortly by constructing sub-stations. He further informs that much progress could not be achieved for want of adequate work force, which now has been made available to the Board with appointments of 1800 Assistant Linemen and appointment letters having been issued to 250 newly appointed Junior Engineers.

The progress report in this regard be submitted to the Court on the next date of hearing.

During the course of hearing, it was pointed out that some of the service providers TOCO/IPs, i.e. Indus Tower Ltd., BBT Ist Floor, Tower-A, Industrial Plot No. 1, Phase-9, Sector-66, Mohali, Punjab, American Tower Company, Sebiz Square, Plot No. IT-C-6, IT Park, Sector-67, Mohali-160062, Punjab and Tower Vision India, E—178, Phase-7, Industrial Area, Sector – 73, SAS Nagar, Mohali- 160062, Punjab, have constructed/erected the towers and are maintaining the same. Since, the aforesaid service providers are necessary parties, they are ordered to be arrayed as party respondents and shall now figure as respondents No. 10, 11 and 12.

The court has directed notices be issued to the newly added respondents, returnable for 26 July, on taking steps within two days.

As the state has formulated Right

to Way Policy, 2021, which envisages the establishment of online portal, the court directed the state to ensure that such portal is to be set up at the earliest and in no event later than on or before next date of hearing.

The next date for hearing has been listed for 26 July, 2021.