Reliance Jio gets green nod for AAE-I subsea cable project

Reliance Jio has received environment clearance for building the Indian part of Asia-Africa-Europe One submarine cable; the expected cost of the project is $6 million


The CRZ clearance given to Reliance Jio subject to the compliance of the specific and general conditions. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
The CRZ clearance given to Reliance Jio subject to the compliance of the specific and general conditions. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint

New Delhi: Reliance Jio Infocomm has received environment clearance for building the Indian part of Asia-Africa-Europe One (AAE-1) submarine cable system at Mumbai, entailing an investment of $6 million.

AAE-1, the largest next generation subsea cable system spanning around 25,000 km and linking South Asia to Africa and Europe via the Middle East, is being constructed by a consortium of 17 global service providers. The Indian part of the project will be implemented by Reliance Jio.

Last December, the expert appraisal committee (EAC) under the environment ministry had vetted the proposal and recommended granting the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) nod.

“As per the recommendations of the EAC, the environment ministry has given the CRZ Clearance to the project ‘AAE-l Submarine Cable System’ at Versova Beach, Mumbai by Reliance Jio Infocomm,” a senior government official said.

The CRZ clearance was given Tuesday to the company subject to the compliance of the specific and general conditions, the official said.

The cable will terminate in Mumbai at a Beach Man Hole (BMH) proposed to be located at a beach road connecting J P road to Versova Beach, in front of Harshvardhan Society.

The expected cost of the project is $6 million. Among conditions specified, Reliance Jio has been asked to carry the activity only in the limited 4-6 hours low tide timings so that there is no water ingress in the excavated area.

The excavated area should be covered after laying the cable and even the CRZ area should be cordoned off by floating buoys with warning flasher lights and sound alarm in case of any intrusion into the cordoned area.

The company has been asked to set up labour camps, storage of material and machinery away from the CRZ area and has also been told not to disturb mangroves and marine life while laying of cable. It has been asked to take measures to prevent cable damage and not to dispose off solid waste and sewage in coastal area.

The proposed AAE-1 cable system aims at enhancing telecom connectivity, providing additional capacity and speed for international traffic. The company has chosen Versova Beach as preferred route of cable laying of AAE-I because two other similar projects — Europe India Gateway (EIG) Submarine Cable Landing by Bharti Airtel Limited and Gulf Bridge International Cable System (GBICS) Submarine Cable Landing by Sifi Technologies — are already present there.

Another similar project ‘Bay of Bengal Gateway (BBG) Submarine Cable System Landing’ by Vodafone South was granted CRZ clearance by the environment ministry recently.

Reliance Jio, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, holds spectrum in 1800 MHz (across 14 circles) and 2300 MHz (across 22 circles) capable of offering fourth generation (4G) wireless services.

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