Monday, May 13, 2013

DOT nod to be must for cell tower removal

April 27, 2013

MUMBAI: Citizens opposed to the presence of cellphone towers around them may not be able to get these removed simply by agitating and putting pressure on the installers in coming days.

Once new guidelines are introduced by the ministry of communication and information technology, the permission of local enforcement and monitoring cells of the department of telecom (DoT) will be required before removal and shifting of towers or cutting of power supply to these.

The guidelines are being drafted to regulate cell towers and will come in handy while dealing with complaints about high electromagnetic field radiation from these towers.

The city and its vicinity witnessed the highest number of cell tower removals in the country in recent days, with service providers removing nearly 100 towers because of what they called "unnecessary panic" among citizens. The result was poor connectivity in some areas.

Recently there were incidents such as in Andheri, Dadar and Malabar Hill where citizen groups forced operators to remove towers.

"There was a consensus among the stakeholders-cellular operators' representatives, tower providers and ministry officials-that any decision about cell tower antennas should be taken only after obtaining consent from the telecom enforcement, resource and monitoring (TERM) cells of DoT," said Rajan Mathew, director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India.

The primary draft of the guidelines was discussed at a recent meeting in Delhi. The draft also suggested formation of district committees to ensure regular interaction between civic or district officials and TERM cells.

"Telecom installations are lifeline and are a critical infrastructure in mobile communication. In order to avoid disruption in mobile communication, sealing of base transmission station towers or disconnection of electricity to them may not be resorted to without the consent of the respective telecom enforcement, resource and monitoring cell of department of telecommunication (DoT)," stated the primary draft of the guidelines discussed among stake holders recently at a meeting in New Delhi. The draft .

SAFETY GUIDELINES

1) If rooftops have cell towers, rooftop visits should be restricted to short durations

2) There should be no residential or workplace building directly in front of an antenna till a distance of 20 metres (distance increases with number of antennas and is 75 metres for 12 antennas)
3) For all general public areas in vicinity of tower, operators to ensure safe electromagnetic field exposure limits as per actual peak call traffic measurements

4) On flyovers, antenna should be mounted at least 5 metres above ground or road level

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