People taking a stand against installation of mobile phone towers in their building may soon be able to fight their own battle. According to the draft policy prepared by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the licence of an existing tower will not be renewed if residents submit their disapproval.
In case of housing societies, a motion passed in their annual general body meeting will be sufficient to remove the tower. In the case of apartments and condominiums, disapproval of 70% of the occupants would be essential to bring down the tower.
“After receiving several complaints from residents, we decided to include the provision of cancelling the license granted for a mobile phone tower. The procedure of cancellation by involving citizens is similar to the process of installing it,” said a senior civic official.
On November 23, HT had reported on how citizens either cancelled mid-way or objected to the renewal of lease agreements of 86 mobile towers in the city over the last year.
The draft policy, which has been prepared on the basis of the guidelines proposed by the Union Department of Telecommunication (DoT), has been sent to municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte for approval.
“The draft policy will have to be passed in the standing committee meeting and the general body meeting,” said Kunte.
However, citizens complained that it was difficult to convince the owners of buildings on account of high rental amounts paid by mobile tower operators.
“On account of the high rents, it is very difficult to convince residents in the interest of their own health,” said Madhu Poplai from Pali Hill Residents’ Association. “Only 35% of the towers in the locality are legal. Until and unless they remove illegal towers, this provision will be futile.