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Chennai, Aug 28: Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today sought Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s assistance for rolling out the Centre’s ambitious National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) in the state. At a meeting with the Chief Minister, Prasad asked her to sort out the issues related to the Right of Way (RoW) in laying optic fibre for free or at minimum compensation, an official statement said. Also Read - Akshay Kumar To Visit Ayodhya As He Kick-Starts Ram Setu Shoot This Week, Says 'It Is a Bridge Between Generations'

At present, fibre RoW permissions are regulated by multiple local agencies and there is huge variations in cost across states and cities, which makes fibre laying extremely expensive or non-viable in many urban areas. “Specifically discussed with the CM was issue relating to the Row in laying NOFN. The state should sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with BSNL for allowing it free of cost or ask for little compensation money,” it added. Also Read - Fact Check: Will Social Media Accounts be Verified Through Phones in 3 Months? Know Truth Here

The project worth around Rs 35,000 crore aims to provide high-speed broadband connectivity to 2.50 lakh gram panchayats in India by March 2017.

Earlier this week, the first meeting of the Centre and States on implementation of various projects under the Digital India programme took place in the National Capital. In the meeting Department of Telecom (DoT) Secretary Rakesh Garg had also asked the states to help with the fibre RoW and allow laying optic fibre at low cost in respective states. Both the leaders also discussed the implementation of the Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana, Digital India and the electronics manufacturing clusters (EMCs), it said.

“The Minister requested the CM for guiding Tamil Nadu and taking a lead in implementing these flagship programmes,” it added.
Jayalalithaa also showed a lot of interest in setting up of EMC units in Tamil Nadu, it said.