Deadline over, MCD to start sealing illegal cell towers
In the coming few days, if your calls drop frequently, don’t be surprised. After giving cell phone operators a month to regularise their illegal cell phone towers, the MCD will start sealing all the towers that aren’t regularised.
The MCD had issued 1,532 show cause notices to cellphone operators for illegal towers. The notices directed the operators to regularise the towers as they did not have the requisite permission. The city has a total of 5,364 cellphone towers.
However, an RTI application revealed that a number of them had been set up without the mandatory MCD permission.
If the sealing drive takes off, South Delhi will be the worst hit. While 35 towers have already been sealed, action is likely on another 250.
MCD officials say, while some operators did apply for regularisation not all of them are willing to pay the Rs 5 lakh installation charges as per the new policy. The cell tower operators say the charges are too steep. Which means that none of the illegal towers have been regularised till date.
“We had organised camps to allow the operators to apply for regularisation but they are not ready to pay the Rs 5 lakh fee. We have told them that they will have to pay as per the new policy and Rs 1 lakh will not do,” said a senior MCD official.
The MCD further said that a number of cell phone operators were planning to go to court to ensure the MCD did not seal their towers. “We had issued show cause notices to 250 cell phone operators (in South Delhi) who have put up towers without our permission. They were given a one month deadline under the new policy but they have still not submitted their papers. We will now start sealing them,” said a senior MCD official.