Poor coverage and frequent call drops will continue to trouble Noida residents as the authority has failed to provide space for new mobile towers that are required to address the issues.
Noida authority is facing problems in getting mobile towers approved as per the guidelines of department of telecommunication (DOT).
The authority is in a fix because it does not have the space in developed areas to allot them for installation of new towers.
Further, the guidelines state that no tower should be allowed near residential areas, schools and colleges as the radiation from these towers are hazardous to health.
“In the last year, mobile service providers had sought space for 40-50 new mobile towers in Noida. We have been unable to provide the space because our mobile tower policy is not in place yet. We cannot allow towers on rooftops of residential areas because residents raise objections,” said a Noida authority official.
The authority is not only struggling with finding space for new towers but also in dealing with existing ones. Residents are demanding relocation of 250 mobile towers from near their areas.
Cellular operators’ association of India (COAI) spokesperson said applications of many telecommunication firms, seeking space for new towers, are pending with the Noida authority.
“Call drop is a major issue that troubles mobile users in Noida, but what can we do when local authority does not want to give us space for new towers? Noida authority wants to charge a hefty fee, which we cannot pay. It is up to the authority to resolve this issue so that mobile users can get better connectivity,” said Rajan Mathews, president of COAI.
Around 50% of the 600-odd towers are located in residential areas, where house owners allowed installation, 30% in commercial areas and 20% in industrial and institutional areas.
“We are continuously following up with the Noida authority regarding space for new towers because we are committed to providing better mobile network. But we are yet to get land for mobile towers,” said an official of a telecommunication firm.
The Noida authority, in January 2015, had drafted a mobile tower policy. But it could not be approved as it was not in line with DOT norms.
Officials said when Noida was planned, urban planners did not allot land for mobile towers.
Now, residential, industrial and institutional areas do not have adequate space for any common facilities, including mobile towers.
In January, Vinod Kumar Panwar, additional chief executive officer (ACEO) of the Noida authority, headed a committee tasked with policy formation work.
After Panwar was transferred, Pramod Kumar Aggarwal was made head of this committee. But no meeting has taken place on the mobile policy since May.
“The Noida authority’s infrastructure and planning department are working together on the mobile tower policy,” said Saumya Srivastava, deputy chief executive officer (DCEO) of the Noida authority.