In a groundbreaking development, the Ministries of IT & Telecom and Pakistan Railways have inked an agreement concerning the installation of fiber optic cables across the land of Pakistan railway and the associated right-of-way (RoW) charges. Talks, prompted by the SIFC directive, took place where the Ministry of Railways committed to freezing RoW charges, a significant win for digital infrastructure expansion with fiber optic.
The negotiation outcome ensures that the Ministry of Railways will levy only Rs. 36 per meter for fiber optic installation on RoW, a substantial reduction from the initial Rs. 240 per meter charge. This decision reflects a broader commitment to fostering connectivity without burdening telecom initiatives with exorbitant costs.
Crucially, the Ministry of IT advocated for RoW to operate on a profit-no-loss basis, emphasizing that it shouldn’t serve as a revenue-generating tool for the railways. This approach aligns with current public RoW standards set at Rs. 36 per meter by entities like the National Highway Authority (NHA). Encouragingly, the Ministry of Railways has embraced this perspective, paving the way for a more accessible digital landscape.
In an effort to bridge the digital divide, this collaboration facilitates a seamless environment for fiberization, ensuring that the nation’s digital ambitions are not hampered by excessive costs. Railways, as an essential part of the nation’s infrastructure, will now play a pivotal role in enhancing the country’s technological reach.
Transitioning to a more connected future, this agreement exemplifies the power of dialogue and collaboration between ministries. The passive decision-making process of the past has transformed into an active, forward-looking approach, wherein partnerships enable progress.