State approves policy ban on installation near schools

The state cellphone tower policy that bans installation of base station antennae in the 3m radius of schools, colleges and hospitals has finally been approved.

Written by Mihika Basu , Sandeep A Ashar | Mumbai | Updated: March 9, 2014 12:37:32 am

Mumbai

The state cellphone tower policy that bans installation of base station antennae in the 3m radius of schools, colleges and hospitals has finally been approved. It was signed by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan earlier this week.

“Antennae shall not be directed or positioned towards any school, college or hospital building. The existing base station antennae, approved earlier on any school, college and hospital building, shall not be renewed further after expiry of the period of approval and the same shall be removed immediately thereafter,” the proposal states.

To incorporate a “comprehensive regulation” on mobile towers, the state’s Urban Development Department (UDD) published a notice on October 3 last year, inviting suggestions and objections from public. According to sources, however, the proposal has been passed without any changes.

The policy calls for consent of the owner of the premises, which will include consent of the owner of property, or no-objection certificate of the co-op housing society concerned, or consent of 70 per cent of the total number of legal occupants in case of apartments, or no-objection certificate of the lessor in case of a lease-hold property.

In a major deviation from its earlier stand, which said no cellphone towers should be set up within 100 m of schools and hospitals, the improvements committee of the BMC recently approved its new cellphone tower policy, albeit with major amendments. The general body of the BMC, however, is yet to give a final nod to its policy. Keeping in line with the state’s draft, the improvements committee had junked the BMC’s proposed policy guideline that required a no-objection certificate (NOC) from top floor residents of  buildings. The committee said the provision to obtain the consent of 70 per cent residents in a building would be sufficient.

The state policy retains a key guideline mentioned in both Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and BMC policy guidelines – in case of both ground-based towers and roof-top towers, there will be no building in front of the antennae of equivalent height. It further states that there should be no building in front of an antennae till a distance of 20m. Similarly, if there are six antennae in the same direction, there should be no building or structure in front of it, up to 55m. For four antennae, the safe distance specified is 45m, it is 35m for two antennae, and 70m for 10.

The policy mandates that no permission for installation of telecommunication cell site or base station (TCS or BS) will be granted to buildings, which are unauthorised and structurally unsafe.
“Permission for installation of TCS/BS, once granted, will be valid for five years. The competent authority, while considering renewal, shall insist upon submission of fresh structural stability certificates for buildings more than 30 years old,” it further stated.

Towering policy

  •  Service providers, who have erected telecommunication cell site or base station with due permission, will have to apply for validation of the previous permission to the competent authority within three months from the date of commencement of the regulation
  •  The electro-magnetic field radiation from BTS towers will be subject to the regulations framed by the DoT from time to time.
  • Sign boards and warning signs like ‘danger’, ‘RF radiations’, ‘restricted area’ and ‘don’t enter’ will be provided at TCS/BS antennae sites, which are clearly visible and identifiable.
  •  No objection certificate of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board regarding compliance with the prescribed norms for noise and smoke levels for the power generating sets to be provided for base stations.
  • No permission will be granted for installation of TCS/BS in wildlife areas and/or ecologically important areas without ecological impact assessment and review of installation site.

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