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500 mobile towers illegal

Hundreds of mobile phone towers in the city have been set up flouting safety norms formulated by the Central government in 2006, Dhananjay Jha reports.

gurgaon Updated: Feb 25, 2013 00:18 IST
Dhananjay Jha

Hundreds of mobile phone towers in the city have been set up flouting safety norms formulated by the Central government in 2006. But the Gurgaon administration has done precious little to curb this practice. Instead of taking action, various agencies are indulging in blame game.

In areas under the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG), more than 400 mobile towers are operating as per estimates. About 150 towers have been installed in private localities and nearly 100 operate in sectors under the jurisdiction of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda).

As per the norms issued in 2006, mobile towers are not allowed in residential areas.

Moreover, they have to maintain a minimum radius of 100 metres from schools and hospitals too.

Apart from the displaying the radiation level on the tower, a building structural certificate and an approved building plan are also mandatory before installation of a mobile tower.

“As a result, 90% towers are illegal for flouting prescribed norms,” said a senior MCG official, adding that the corporation cannot remove all illegal towers in the city.

Although, the MCG claimed, they have been doing their part by rejecting several applications to install mobile phone towers on the grounds of radiation levels and other factors.

According to the latest MCG directive since the agency’s inception in 2008, mobile tower operators, existing and upcoming, have to seek permission from the MCG.

“In our areas, we have rejected about 350 applications. Many existing towers had applied for the mandatory permission needed from the corporation. We have asked the operators to remove the illegal mobile towers,” said Anju Chaudhary, joint commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG), adding they are illegal.

The MCG, however, has no power to initiate action against violators in Huda sectors and private localities.

The joint commissioner said the district town planning department (DTP, enforcement) will initiate action in private localities.

When asked, Anil Dabas, district town planner (DTP, enforcement) said, “The mobile towers have applied for permission of towers with the MCG and therefore it is the corporation’s duty to survey towers and find out if they are illegal.”

Similarly, a senior Huda official said, “The MCG has received all application in this regard and they should look into the subject.”

Amid the blame game, it’s the residents who have been left in the lurch amid mounting concerns over the ill-effects of radiation from such towers.

Kamal Mehta, a 39-year-old resident of Essel Tower on MG Road, has been battling his neighbor over radiation hazards due to the mobile tower installed on the rooftop for nearly two years. It is merely 20 metres away from his house. All his efforts to get it removes have gone in vain till now. Mehta feels microwave emitted by the tower are to be blamed for his memory loss, sleep disorder and headache. “I can just request my neighbor to not to renew the contract and remove the mobile tower at the earliest,” said Mehta.