February 18, 2016 9:51:32 am
The Rajasthan government is most likely to lift restrictions on installation of mobile phone towers near schools and hospitals from the final version of its draft telecom infrastructure policy.
The move comes after a Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Union Ministry of Communications and IT, letter (dated January 4) to chief secretaries of all states, asking them to “re-examine” existing local policies so that they are aligned with the DoT guidelines issued in 2013.
On Tuesday, The Indian Express had reported that the DoT had asked the state governments to re-examine its local policy regarding cell phone towers, making a case for removal of restrictions on tower installations around schools and hospitals.
The Rajasthan government on Wednesday said the decision was taken following “a large number of representations” from telecom companies and associations, urging the government to drop the regulations regarding installations of mobile phone towers near schools and hospitals.
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“Yes, we have these regulations in the draft policy. But we have received a large number of representations from the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association and private telecom companies over this point,” Additional Chief Secretary (Urban Development and Housing) Ashok Jain told The Indian Express.
“We have also received communication from the Centre regarding this. It (the restriction) should be removed in the final policy document,” he added.
The DoT letter has said, “While in general, state governments/local bodies are following the guidelines issued by DoT, it is observed that some…have issued mobile tower installation policies (with) provisions that are not aligned (to the DoT guidelines). For instance, provisions regarding restriction on installations of tower in specific buildings, requirement of multiple documentation, or charging of high permission fees, etc., are not in alignment of DoT guidelines.”
The Rajasthan government’s recently announced draft telecom infrastructure policy 2015 has several such restrictions, including those regarding installation of mobile phone towers around schools, hospitals, certain rivers and water bodies, railway lines and protected archaeological monuments among others.
The draft police states that no telecommunication infrastructure tower and allied activity shall be allowed “within the lands and buildings of schools (excluding colleges & university), hospitals, and jail; and within 15 meters from the boundary of such schools, hospitals; and within 500 meters from the lands and buildings of such jails”.
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