Monday, May 27, 2013

Residents say DoT guidelines ignore their suggestions

May 28, 2013: South Mumbai residents have written a strongly-worded letter to minister of state for communications and IT and shipping Milind Deora claiming the department of telecommunications (DoT) ignored opinions of citizens in setting new guidelines for installation of mobile towers. The guidelines come into effect on June 1.

"We are surprised to see the document (guidelines) on DoT website hidden under 'a journey for EMF'. Nothing (suggestions given by citizens in Mumbai) has been considered while reframing or revising the guidelines discussed by DoT with operators. We request DoT to consider the opinion of citizen groups before implementing the guidelines. Please delay the implementation till we are also heard," says a letter dated May 26 signed by Prakash Munshi and actress Juhi Chawla on behalf of Indians for Safe Environments.

It says the guidelines must be implemented with retrospective effect covering all old mobile towers/antennae.

The citizens have submitted a slew of recommendations, including ban on clusters of antennae installed on rooftops and sidewalls of buildings.

The letter says the guidelines are silent on the safe height at which two antennae should be installed on tripod towers of building rooftops.

"There should be a ban on installation of mobile tower antennae at a height lower than a neighbouring building, irrespective of the distance between the two buildings."

The letter also questions a revision in the guidelines which specifies safe distance from neighbouring buildings

The DoT guidelines say there should be no building in front of an antenna till 20 metres.

Similarly, if there are six antennae in one direction, there should be no building or structure in front up to 55 metres. For four antennae, the safe distance specified is 45 metres and it is 35 metres for two antennae.

"The table of safe distance has been tweaked twice in the last two months. Why has the 20-metre safe distance been included for one antenna and what is the basis for arriving at these distances? This exercise of tweaking the guidelines of September 1, 2012, twice in a month is highly objectionable and motives need to be explained to the standing committee of parliament and Supreme Court where a hearing on in a Rajasthan High Court case."


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