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BBMP has no count of telecom towers in B'lore

Bangalore, May 16, 2013, DHNS: 
File image Reuters

Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, the civic agency tasked with local administration has no information on the number of telecom towers in the City.

To an information sought under the RTI Act, the Engineer-in-Chief of the BBMP, B T Ramesh, gave a written reply that the permission for installing telecom towers does not fall under the purview of his office or the Chief Engineer (OFC) and hence the information sought is not available.

However, the guidelines of the Union government on telecom towers state: “The intimation for the installation of new BTS towers to state and local bodies should be made either by the telecom service provider being a licencee under Section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act or the infrastructure provider.”

This scribe had sought to know from the BBMP about the number of telecom towers in the City, provision and parameters for setting up telecom towers on residential buildings, Palike’s mechanism to check radiation level of telecom towers, permissible level of radiation, guidelines and restrictions on installing telecom towers, particularly in areas such as schools, residential buildings, hospitals, petrol pumps and defence establishments and the number of telecom towers erected illegally.

A senior BBMP engineer told Deccan Herald that the Union as well as the State governments have given ‘blanket permission’ to all the telecom companies to install towers wherever they want.

Guideline

The 21-point guideline of the Union government provides that the service provider/infrastructure provider should have unrestricted  right of way for installation of mobile towers, irrespective of land usage after entering into a legal contract with the owner, he pointed out.

At the same time, the guidelines also state that installation of base station antennas on the premises of schools and hospitals may be avoided in since children and patients were likely to be susceptible to electro-magnetic field.

The BBMP special commissioner K R Niranjan said Palike had no major role to play to check violations regarding the radiation limits or installation of telecom towers.

“However, these blanket permissions should not become a ground for the municipal corporations to turn a blind eye to the mushrooming of telecom towers on residential buildings and the health hazards posed by them through electro-magnetic radiations,” said Niranjan.

He said he would direct his subordinates to find out the number of towers in the City.


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