Four lakh mobile users in Noida stare at a network blackout starting Sunday with residents likely to snap power to 180 mobile towers located in their colonies.
Faced with a Noida authority notice warning of cancellation of lease deeds of their houses if mobile towers are not moved out of residential areas, around 40 locals on Saturday cut electricity supply to these towers on their rooftops.
The towers are considered a health hazard with many studies saying they pose a cancer risk. However, the government recently denied these suggestions.
“Some 180 mobile towers will stop working if power is not restored to the 40 towers. We will be unable to provide services from tomorrow if the issue is not addressed on time,” said a telecom firm spokesperson who did not wish to be identified.
The Residents’ Mobile Tower Association said it was forced to act after the authority cancelled the lease deeds of three residents.
Noida authority additional chief executive officer Vinod Kumar Panwar, however, said no lease deeds had been cancelled and only notices had been issued. Pointing out that the authority was not concerned about any action taken by the residents, he added, “The authority does not supply power to mobile towers, so we have nothing to do with it. We will sit with residents and telecommunication firms to reach a solution soon.”
Noida has 600-odd towers with around 50% of them in residential localities, 30% in commercial areas and the rest in industrial/institutional areas. Four lakh of the city’s seven lakh population use cellphones.
Telecom firms say they have long demanded that the authority relocate the mobile towers according to the Centre’s guidelines instead of forcing residents to remove them. The issue has been hanging fire for several years now with the authority in 2010 sealing more than 200 towers, leading to massive disruptions in mobile services. Service providers had moved court on that occasion, and a ruling in their favour had directed the authority to de-seal the towers on the fulfilment of some norms.