To check call drop, North Delhi corporation will regularise 2,000 towers
In last seven years, the North corporation had sealed 127 of the 1,284 illegal towers for not complying with the rules of the Tower Policy, 2010, such as not obtaining structural safety certificate from the corporation.Updated: Aug 08, 2018 10:13 IST
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation plans to regularise 2,000 cellphone towers, subject to service providers agreeing to the settlement agreement approved by the Delhi high court .
The civic body is proposing to regularise these towers in the backdrop of reports of frequent call drop. There are 2,539 cell towers in north Delhi, of which 1,255 are legal.
North corporation standing committee chairperson Veena Virmani said a meeting was held by the corporation with service providers on August 2, during which the corporation officials were directed to expedite the reconciliation process.
Virmani said once all towers are regularised, it would bring in Rs 30 crore revenue in licensing fee annually.
In last seven years, the North corporation had sealed 127 of the 1,284 illegal towers for not complying with the rules of the Tower Policy, 2010, such as not obtaining structural safety certificate from the corporation.
“We had to discontinue the sealing drive after a group of cell tower operators challenged the Tower Policy in the high court. They opposed the increase in licensing fee from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. Sealing of hundreds of towers resulted in frequent call drops,” Virmani said, adding that a settlement agreement was signed between the civic bodies and service providers in January 2017.
The settlement agreement was also approved by the high court in August 2017.
As per settlement, service providers are required to deposit Rs 2 lakh per tower (instead of Rs 5 lakh) with effect from January 2015, after which they would be given permission to erect towers for a five-year period.
“Since the high court has already approved the settlement, we have given two to three months to the zonal building departments to sort out the matter,” Virmani said.
Tilak Raj Dua , director general of Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association, said, “We welcome the initiative but it should be ensured that the settlement agreement is honoured and no coercive action is taken by the civic body. Also, to ensure seamless connectivity in Delhi, serious efforts should be made to draft a new comprehensive tower policy that is aligned with right of way rules of 2016 issued by the department of telecommunication.”
The North corporation has also directed their officials to inspect the illegal cell tower sites and give an opportunity to operators to obtain structural safety certificates by making changes in the building and submitting all documents for verification. The civic agency is also planning to erect cell towers at its own offices, community halls, dispensaries and schools.