Even two months after the deadline for receiving suggestions and objections ended, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is yet to finalise the mobile phone tower policy. The delay, according to citizens and anti-radiation activists, could lead to the installation of several illegal towers across the city.
The mobile tower draft policy was published in November 2012. The process of finalising it began in January, when the policy was made public following citizens’ intervention.
According to the provisions of the policy, mobile phone towers cannot be installed atop educational institutions and hospitals and should maintain a minimum distance of 36 metres from the adjacent residential building. The policy also restricts the maximum number of antennae atop a building to two.
Civic chief Sitaram Kunte said that the work on the policy was still on. “The process of finalising the draft is on. We have received a lot of suggestions,” he said.
Last month, HT had reported on how the civic body had claimed that it had received just 100 suggestions and objections to the draft policy.
“We had requested the civic body to impose a stay on the installation of new towers, while the existing stay on the 1,800 illegal towers in the city is applicable. But, with no action yet, the number of illegal towers in the city will only continue to rise,” said Prakash Munshi, a Malabar Hill resident.
Over the last few months, Hindustan Times has been reporting on the concerns over the suspected health hazards posed by exposure to mobile phone tower radiation.
Sunil Shah, a resident of Chunabhatti, who wants the towers from the building facing his house on the sixth floor to be removed, said, “Over the last few months, several towers have sprung up in the area. This could have been avoided had there been a clear policy,” said Shah.
Anti-radiation activist Jitendra Gupta blamed an external lobby for interfering and delaying the policy.
“Asking for citizens’ suggestions was an eyewash. There was no transparency in the process,” he said.