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BSNL Tower of Bhatkal. Photo: Bhatkallys.com

Keep a distance: Karnataka on mobile towers

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Adraft government order states that telecom companies need to avail licences for their mobile towers within three months. On Tuesday, UT Khader, the minister for urban development and housing, announced that the state government is all set to implement the new policy on mobile towers.

There will be strict guidelines to be followed before and after the installation of network towers. The government will restrict operators from installing towers within 50 meters of schools, religious centres, hospitals and other public places where people frequent in large numbers.

The government also has finalised annual fees to be paid by the operators for the installation of mobile towers.

Khader said that a tower in Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits will cost Rs one lakh per year. For all other city corporations in Karnataka, the stipulated licence fee will be Rs 50,000 per annum. In cities with municipal councils, telecom companies will need to pay Rs 35,000 per year.
Town municipal councils will levy an annual fee of Rs Rs 25,000. The fees have been fixed at Rs 20,000 in taluk panchayats and Rs 15,000 in gram panchayats. In addition, operators will also have to pay a part of annual revenue to the local administrations. The rules will also be applicable for ‘towers on wheels’ which the operators install on special occasions.

Till now, Karnataka did not have a clear policy on mobile towers. Khader said, “We received several public complaints on the harm a mobile tower can cause. The state, with the support of various NGOs and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, has drafted a policy, to be notified soon. It will be mandatory for all operators to register their towers by paying an annual fee to local administrations.”

Operators will need a certificate from recognised structural engineers for new towers from now. Committees at district and state levels will be formed to look into various complaints on the issue. At the district level, Deputy Commissioners will head the committee, while the state committee will be led by the principal secretary.

Source: Bangalore Mirror
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