Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MOHALI: Cell towers: GMADA to act

MOHALI: Come October, owners who have not acted on the directions of GMADA to meet security standards for mobile towers erected atop their buildings may have to pay a heavy price for the laxity.

GMADA has decided to remove over a dozen such mobile towers that have been erected in violation of safety norms. Earlier, as many as 100 structures were put on notice by GMADA seeking a reply against the illegal practice.

Talking to TOI, GMADA estate officer Balbir Singh Dhol stated that according to a fresh survey conducted by field staff, there were at least 97 mobile towers located in commercial, industrial and residential areas of Mohali. "We had issued notices to all these mobile tower owners to either get their structures regularized by meeting safety standards. Subsequently, 40 such mobile tower owners met GMADA officials to explain their position," he added.

The owners were educated about safety requirements such as height and material. Most of them had agreed to meet the safety standards within next couple of weeks, Dhol stated.

Meanwhile, GMADA had issued a second notice to rest of the violators. A final notice was also issued to almost a dozen illegal builders. "If no reply is received from these violators by September 30, GMADA will have no choice but to remove the said towers. Contrary to GMADA policy, at least a dozen mobile towers are still located in residential areas. These will have to be shifted to commercial or industrial areas," the estate officer said, adding that there was no provision in the policy to accommodate such towers in residential areas. "These are deemed as illegal," he added.

Meanwhile, residents continue to live in fear of health hazards caused due to radiations. Various studies have shown that prolonged exposure to electromagnetic radiation could be exposed if such towers are shifted to commercial areas.

Expressing concern, Gautam Mittal, a BPO employee residing in Phase 3B2 where one such mobile towers is located, stated that earlier in the year Telecom regulator TRAI had issued guidelines to mobile phone operators across the country to adhere to safety regulations in residential areas. "It is a welcome move, though a bit delayed," he added.

On the other hand, Nishant Anand, an advocate residing in Phase VII, said shifting these mobile towers from residential areas may lead to loss of network. "The move may backfire as already a large number of people living in Phase VII experience network failures. The situation is worse in flats as those living on ground floors experience frequent signal losses," he added.

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