Taking objection to the state cellphone tower policy that bans installation of base station antennae within the three-metre radius of schools, colleges and hospitals, the Telecom Enforcement Resource & Monitoring (TERM) Cell of Department of Telecommunications (Mumbai circle) has written to the Urban Development Department (UDD) stating it was not in consonance with DoT guidelines.
According to the state policy, installation of base station antenna will not be permissible within the premises of schools, colleges, and hospitals as well as on the adjoining land building within three metres of such institutions, and the antennae will not be directed or positioned towards any school, college or hospital building. It further says the existing base station antennae, approved earlier on any school, college and hospital building, will not be renewed further after expiry of the period of approval and the same will be removed immediately thereafter.
The TERM cell letter dated March 4, however, says that such clauses are not in line with DoT guidelines. “It is far more practical to impose restrictions on the basis of radiation levels exceeding permissible limits, instead of posing blanket restriction based on criteria of distances or type of locations, for example schools or colleges, as mentioned in the draft policy,” says the letter.
Stating that there has been no response by the UDD to two letters written by TERM cell requesting discussion on the subject, the letter has called for scheduling a meeting at the earliest.
“It is learned recently that the Maharashtra government has framed policy guidelines for installation of mobile towers in the state. The secretary (telecom) has issued reviewed broad guidelines for installation of mobile towers based on interaction and feedback from various stakeholders, including state governments and civil societies. These guidelines have been sent to Chief Secretary (Maharashtra) vide letter dated August 8, 2013. It was mentioned in this letter that all technical issues related to electromagnetic radiation, wireless frequency allocation, etc, in respect of telecommunication services are dealt by DoT (being subject matter under purview of Central government). It was also mentioned that the state government may coordinate or consult with TERM cells. This office has, however, not been consulted in framing of draft guidelines,” the TERM cell letter said.