The BMC, controlled by the Shiv Sena, has come under criticism for its failure to check illegal mobile phone towers in Mumbai and its suburbs. There are 2,702 illegal mobile towers operating despite directives from the courts and the government on imposing stringent guidelines to effectively tackle the issue that caused a major heath concern in the island city, its western and central suburbs.
A Public Accounts Committee report tabled in the assembly on Tuesday outlined the failure of the BMC in addressing the problem.
While questioning how 2,702 illegal mobile towers could be allowed to operate despite objections in 2007-08, questions were raised on BMC’s failure to consider health issues caused by radiation in the vicinity of mobile towers.
The report points out that land for such towers was sanctioned by the BMC. The process of sanctioning mobile towers began in 1995. Following public health concerns the state government, along with the Centre and the ministry of telecommunication had drawn up the guidelines. There are also observations on mobile towers from the courts which mandate every state government and its municipal corporation to adhere to the guidelines. The committee mentions that arguments by the BMC that it did not receive the directives from state government issued in 2007 was not convincing and cannot be a pretext for not taking adequate safeguards against illegal towers. The report questions the BMC for spelling out how it could overlook an issue that had triggered panic among citizens leading them to shift homes to avoid health issues caused due to tower radiation.