BMC bans mobile towers at parks, playgrounds

  • Laxman Singh, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Mar 16, 2016 18:30 IST

Bringing relief to citizens who have been protesting against mobile phone towers at playgrounds and gardens, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in its new policy on regularising mobile towers, has said such towers won’t be allowed on plots reserved for playgrounds, recreational grounds, gardens and parks.

The policy prepared by the civic body also says no permission will be given for installation of towers on roads, traffic islands, heritage structures and its precincts.

Last year, BMC’s decision of allowing installation of 4G mobile towers by a telecom company on city’s open spaces had drawn flak from citizens and activists.

Citizen groups had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) against the civic body’s decision, after which the Bombay high court directed the civic body not to permit any new mobile towers at open spaces.

The civic body had given permission for installing 1,400 mobile towers in open spaces according to the state government’s notification issued on March 4, 2014.

Activists welcomed the move. Anti-radiation activist Prakash Munshi, said: “This is victory for our fight. The open spaces are meant for children to play.”

However, Munshi questioned the civic body over the existing mobile towers in open spaces.

“The civic body should take action against such towers,” he demanded.

Civic officials claimed the decision on installed mobile towers in open spaces will be taken after the Bombay high court gives its order on pending litigations.

HT had reported on March 15 about BMC’s new mobile tower policy which will be tabled in improvement committee meeting on Wednesday. The policy has been prepared to regularise the illegal mobile towers by charging fee.

Chief engineer, development plan, VP Chithore said, “This policy is for regularisation and levying a fee on that. There was no clarity on charging the telecom companies over regularisation so we have lost revenue of crores. Now, with this policy we will recover the money and it will open the way for charging the mobile companies. This has nothing to do with the old policy.”

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