Wednesday, August 28, 2013

BMC undecided about cell tower rules

Chittaranjan Tembhekar & Linah Baliga, TNN Aug 3, 2013, 02.02AM IST
MUMBAI: Though BMC officials are clueless about the changes they will have to make in their policy to regulate cellphone towers in the city, they said they would incorporate the new guidelines issued by the department of telecom in their recommendations. The DoT has come up with its guidelines for state governments and local bodies while dealing with cell towers. The guidelines came into effect from August 1.
"We will table the draft cell tower policy in the general body meeting soon. We have learnt that there will be modifications to the guidelines issued by DoT. We have not received any intimation so far, but if it is so, we will make the necessary changes in the draft policy," said Rajeev Kukunur, BMC chief engineer, development plan.
Meanwhile, Indians For Safe Environments (IFSE) and other citizen groups in the city have objected to the "advisory" nature of these guidelines. "These guidelines are advisory in nature and not mandatory for states or local bodies. Hence, it is necessary for the DoT to ask states to frame rules based on the new guidelines," a statement by IFSE and other citizens' groups said.
According to them, citizens were not happy that the Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cell will have to intervene in case residents of a building want a cell tower removed for violation of guidelines. They want this power to be vested with the local bodies. IFSE said a specific time limit should be fixed for operators to submit self-certificate regarding towers. They also want the government to adopt the lowest Austrian limit for radiations.
IFSE has demanded that the combined power output from antennae be reduced to a maximum of 2 Watts per site. Citizens also want that the number of antennae per site be restricted to two.

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