Sunday, July 22, 2012

47% cell towers in city unauthorized - New Delhi


47% cell towers in city unauthorized

Risha Chitlangia | TNN 

New Delhi: With increase in number of cell phone users, cellular operators are looking for new sites to install mobile towers. However, many operators have installed these towers without civic agencies’ sanction, especially after the erstwhile MCD had come up with a stringent revised policy on it in 2010. 
    Instead, Cellular Operators’ Association of India had moved the Delhi high court against the order and, last April, the court struck down MCD’s decision to increase the installation fee and its right to decide the site. However, the court also made it 
clear that the operators can’t install towers without the civic agencies’ permission. But according to MCD, of the 5,656 mobile towers installed across the city till February 2012, 2,656 (47%) are operating without its permission. 
    Officials say the new 

guidelines were issued following complaints from resident welfare associations. The cash-strapped MCD had also increased the installation fee from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for every five years. 
    “The policy was revised to limit the number of towers in residential colonies. Under 
the new policy, the first preference was given to municipal and government buildings (barring hospitals and schools), and then to nonresidential areas, near drains, vacant land. But not many operators have applied for permission in the last one year,” said Yogender Chandolia, chairman of standing committee, North Delhi Municipal Corporation. 
    Permission for installing towers in residential colonies and group housing societies was to be given only if there was no alternative. “We have appealed against the order as the new policy will not only help the civic agency boost its revenue but also ensure that 
cellular operators follow all safety norms,” he said. The matter is pending before a double bench in HC. 
    As per the new policy, the cellular operators were required to get clearance from various government agencies like the fire department, DDA, DUAC, AAI etc. “The court has struck down two points of our new policy. But the cellular operators have to fulfill the rest to obtain permission. But in the past one year, not many cellular operators have applied for permission and those who have applied don’t fulfill the other terms and conditions,” said an official of South Delhi Municipal Corporation.

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