Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mobile Towers: NGT issues notice to American Corp

The response of American Tower Corporation Ltd has sought by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on a plea alleging that mobile phone towers across the country are being installed in violation of stipulated guidelines.
A bench comprising acting Chairperson Justice A S Naidu and expert member P C Mishra issued notice to the American company after a plea was moved to implead it as a party in the case.
“A petition has been filed to implead American Tower Corporation Ltd as respondent no 12. It is submitted that the said respondent is likely to be affected by any order passed in this case. Considering the submissions made the prayer is allowed.
According to the bench, “Notice on question of maintainability of the application be issued to the newly added respondent.”
The NGT was hearing Delhi resident Arvind Gupta’s plea alleging inaction on the government’s part in strictly implementing guidelines regarding installation of mobile towers in the country.
In his plea filed through advocate B P Tripathy, Gupta has alleged that “norms are flouted brazenly by all companies involved with installation of mobile towers” and the Department of Telecommunications has not been implementing the guideline while allowing setting up of the towers.
The NGT bench has also given the other parties in the case three more weeks to file their replies, after they sought more time, and has listed the matter for further hearing on January 17, 2013.
Earlier on November 21, the Tribunal had sought the response of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Ministry of Communications & IT, Ministry of Health, Securities and Exchange Board of India and telecom firms – Bharti Infratel Ltd, Airtel BSE 2.87 %, Idea, Vodaphone, Tata, Reliance and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.
The NGT on November 21 had restrained the telecom firms from setting up fresh mobile towers in the country without following mandatory provisions of law and obtaining the necessary permission from the competent authority.
In his original plea, Gupta has submitted that with the growth in the telecom sector the 3,76,000 mobile towers that existed at the end of March 2012 would increase to 420,000 by the end of March 2017.
He alleged that radiations emitted by towers not only adversely affect flora and fauna, but can also cause cancer in human beings.
Gupta has moved the Tribunal seeking directions to the Centre and the telecom firms for implementing guidelines and regulations issued by the MoEF regarding installation of cell phone towers nationwide.
He has also sought constituting of a high powered committee of experts to lay guidelines for limiting cell phone tower radiation before installing any new towers.

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