Dozens of Universal Service Fund’s (USF) connectivity projects are halted due to the non-receipt of NOC from the Punjab Forest Department.
Sources informed ProPakistani that the companies working on USF projects in Attock, Jhelum, Chakwal, and Khushab, could not obtain permission for the installation of passive infrastructure-sharing towers on forest land.
USF Officials say that there are 9 places in Khushab and 5 places in Attock where the permission to install towers has not been received yet. Similarly, 9 sites in Jhelum and Chakwal have also not received permission from the Forest Department to install towers.
However, work on USF projects in other parts of these districts is almost complete.
The Punjab Forest Department has not even granted permission for the survey to the companies working on these projects. The forest department has been asked to grant permission for the survey so that locations for the installation of towers could be finalized and legal modalities can be fulfilled for construction activity.
Officials say that these projects have been designed for underserved areas to improve connectivity. With the installation of telecom towers and other infrastructure in these areas, voice and high-speed mobile broadband internet services will be improved.
Due to non-approval by the Forest Department, not only the speed of completion of these projects is affected but also their cost is increasing enormously. The companies working on these projects and USF have written letters requesting the Forest Department to issue NOCs for installing towers in the areas.