DoT cellphone tower policy awaits BMC responsehttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/dot-cellphone-tower-policy-awaits-bmc-response/

DoT cellphone tower policy awaits BMC response

New guidelines,put up for public feedback on the DoT website earlier this month,come into effect on June 1.

Barely a week is left for the new department of telecommunications (DoT) guidelines on mobile tower installation to come into effect but BMC is yet to send suggestions/objections. It has also failed to stick to the deadline for finalising its own policy.

The guidelines,put up for public feedback on the DoT website earlier this month,come into effect on June 1.

They permit installation of cellphone towers/telecom infrastructure at all locations,irrespective of land use. This is contrary to a BMC draft policy of last year that proposes a ban on new cellphone towers on hospital and school premises.

In a May 20 letter to municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte,minister of state for communications and IT and shipping Milind Deora said he wants the DoT policy to reflect issues concerning Mumbai too.

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“For the first time,the draft model guidelines for clearances by state government/local bodies for installation of mobile towers by telecom service providers were forwarded to all chief secretaries on March 26,2013,and subsequently a meeting with state government officials,telecom service providers and TERM cells officers was held on April 15. Based on the feedback,the guidelines have been modified and placed on DoT website. I hope Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has responded to DoT with specific suggestions pertaining to local issues. If not,I urge you to do so immediately so that the DoT policy in this regard also reflects the concerns of Mumbai,” he said.

A copy of the letter has been marked to mayor Sunil Prabhu.

While the new BMC cellphone tower policy is expected to be ready by July 15,the civic body has abruptly scrapped a study to formulate guidelines to install towers after a committee under KEM Hospital dean Sandhya Kamat submitted its initial report.

Citizens concerned about health issues arising from proximity to cellphone tower antennae have repeatedly complained that BMC lacks seriousness in framing policies and in addressing their issues.

BMC,meanwhile,has received around 190 suggestions and objections to its draft policy.

While the deadline for receiving feedback ended in February 2013,it is yet to put up the final policy for approval.

“The final work of compiling the suggestions and objections is almost over. In a few days,we will send all suggestions,objections to the municipal commissioner,” said a senior civic official.

“The municipal commissioner is out of the country on an official visit till May 27,which may delay the process,” he said.

Congress corporator and leader of opposition Dnyanraj Nikam said,“The civic administration attitude regarding implementation of cellphone tower policy has been lackadaisical. They received suggestions over three months ago but have failed to prepare a policy.”

mihika.basu@expressindia.com

sharvari.patwa@expressindia.com