With people protesting against mobile towers located in residential areas, there is major public outcry on the issue. However, the local administration has maintained that there is little legislation on the issue and other aspects like development of the telecommunications business had to be considered. HT grilled Bathinda municipal commissioner Vipul Ujwal on the issue.
Q: Have you noticed an increase in the number of objections against setting up of mobile towers??
Commissioner: I can't say with this with certainty. We will have to check the record of number of complaints over the past few years. In my tenure, I have received four such complaints.
Q: Do you think these concerns are genuine?
Commissioner: We must understand that there is no blanket ban on setting up of these towers. Permission will have to be given for setting these up, as banning them will keep people away from the benefits of the telecom revolution. Moreover, studies to establish the ill effects of mobile tower radiations are inconclusive. Economics seems to be the driving force behind the protests.
Q:What action is taken after receiving complaints against setting up of a mobile tower?
Commissioner: I send a teams of official to check if the central government's guidelines for setting up of these towers are being followed. That is the standard procedure we adopt. A report is yet to be submitted to me and if a law is shown to be violated. The towers will be removed.
Q: Are there unauthorised mobile towers in the city?
Commissioner: There is no unauthorised mobile phone tower in the city as of now. I have asked officials to conduct a survey. I also request people to report any illegal tower set up in the city.
Q: Is there any provision of taking the consent of residents before setting up a mobile tower at a particular place?
Commissioner: In the newly-issued guidelines, there is a provision for taking consent from the owner of the building and to ensure other issues such as structural stability and fulfilment of fire safety norms. However, there is no provision of taking consent from area residents. Still, we always try and discuss all issues with the residents.