The Standing Committee of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has sought the ‘dismantling’ of mobile towers which have been installed illegally in South Delhi since 2010. As per official documents, of the 3,377 mobile towers in South Delhi, over 2,200 have been constructed without permission from the corporation.
South Delhi Commissioner Puneet Goyal informed the committee that since the SDMC has increased its one-time license fee required to construct mobile towers in 2009-1010, many mobile companies had refused to pay the “exorbitant amount” and taken the matter to court.
“All municipal bodies charge a license fee from mobile companies for setting up mobile towers. Bombay charges Rs 50,000 and SDMC earlier charged Rs one lakh,” he said.
In the financial year 2009-10, the amount was abruptly increased to Rs 5 lakh, prompting the mobile companies to move court against the hike.
Defending the move, South Delhi mayor Subhash Arya said, “We did this to increase revenue to the corporation”. The mayor also claimed that though the court has stayed the chargeable amount, that has no bearing on the action liable to be taken on the existing towers.
Meanwhile, the Congress has alleged that while the matter remains sub-judice in the Delhi High Court, “hundreds of unauthorised cell phone towers have come up in South Delhi”.
“Figures quoted in official documents are only a fraction of what they actually may be,” said Leader of the Opposition in SDMC Farhad Suri.
While the chairman suggested that the corporation go to court against the mobile companies illegally occupying SDMC space without paying the requisite revenue, the Standing Committee decided that the civic body “should go ahead with dismantling structures that have come up since the matter went to court.”
The committee also admitted that the corporation did not have enough staff to dismantle existing towers so the staff of the building department will carry out action on the illegal towers.