Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cap of two mobile towers per building to continue

Despite opposition from various citizen groups and activists, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to continue with the limit of two mobile towers per building in the city. Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte approved the final draft of BMC's revised mobile tower policy on Friday evening.

Activists had urged the civic body to cap the number of towers to only one per building. "The Municipal Commissioner, however, has approved the policy and the number has been restricted to two," said a top civic official.

The original policy also had a cap of two towers per building. It was revised for the second time last week after the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) issued fresh guidelines on August 1. The BMC then incorporated some of the suggestions made by DoT.

As per the civic body's original policy, the consent of 70 per cent residents of a building was required for telecom companies to install towers. The civic body has now decided to make it mandatory to take consent of those living on the top floor before installing a tower or renewing its licence. The roof top residents live in close proximity of the towers and would be most adversely affected by them, said a senior civic official.

During the meetings with BMC, citizens' groups had also asked for more clarity in the number of legal and illegal towers in the city.

"We have requested the civic officials to upload a list of all legal towers in the city on the MCGM website. They have agreed to do so and have also said they will consider other important requirements in the policy," said Vinod Shelar, a BJP corporator, who is spearheading the campaign against illegal mobile towers.

As per the policy, a minimum distance of 36 metres must be maintained while installing towers on the rooftops of educational institutions and hospitals.

According to a new survey undertaken by BMC, 3,631 of the 4,776 towers in the metropolis are illegal.

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