Work has already started in 26 telecom circles with 1,28,42,506 Direct Exchange Lines (DELs) being made poleless as on January 2008, said Minister of State in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology Shakeel Ahmad in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. A total of 7,56,820 poles have been recovered in the process and 2,95,797 have been deposed through sale of scrap.
Kerala leads the pack with 23.62 lakh DELs being made poleless, followed by Tamil Nadu and Gujarat with 12.38 lakh and 12.02 lakh DELs respectively.
Uttar Pradesh West circle showed the slowest work in terms of making the cities poleless with only 8,553 DELs being converted to underground cables.
With the objective of meeting the telecom needs of the country, the National Telecom Policy 1994 had envisaged making DELs underground.