In a first in Hyderabad, the Cantonment area will have mobile phone towers on wheels in what could be a far-reaching move to provide huge relief to lakhs of residents who often complain about towers installed on residential complexes and apartment buildings posing danger to their lives. The towers on wheels — modelled like those functioning in Western countires — will come up on defence land in 52 spots.
Works would commence after GOC, headquarters, Telangana and Andhra Sub-Area (TASA), selects a bidder, sources said. The Secunderabad Cantonment Board(SCB), which will float tenders, has zeroed in on Army’s vacant land — free from encroachments — to set up these towers. Sources said SCB has taken the lead after the department of telecom (DoT) took a decision on mobile towers on wheels, preferably on vacant government lands.
“These towers will come up on A-1 defence land. Details of bidders will be sent to TASA for a final decision,” joint chief excutive officer, SCB, Ramswaroop Haritwal told TOI. Works could commence as early as next month, sources indicated. Haritwal pointed out that the decision was necessitated following locals’ opposition to installation of mobile towers on rooftops of apartments and building complexes and radiation leading to serious health issues like cancer, memory loss, cardio-vascular stress, low sperm count and birth defect. He also explained that buildings suffer extensive damages and stability of foundation is affected when mobile towers are uprooted or collapse in heavy gales and rain.
Replying to a query, a senior official said they would also look at rooftops of government buildings in case vacant land is not available to install the towers on wheels.
Officials said policies on permission for installation of mobile towers by telecom service providers would also be streamlined as per the new policy. “It is mandatory for firms to get a technical clearance from the telecom enforcement, resource and monitoring cell to set up the towers,” the official explained.
New towers to come up on govt land
In the existing system, mobile towers are installed by private telecom firms on rooftops of private buildings after a lease agreement. Owners of the buildings collect rental charges and firms renew the lease every year. “Under the new telecom policy, preference will be given to government properties to set up the towers. Since SCB owns properties in Cantonment, installation of towers on wheels should not run into any problems,” officials told TOI.
For instance, water supply service reservoirs and pumphouses, dispensaries, Bolarum General Hospital, circle offices and SCB main office are some of SCB’s properties. Some of these buildings were constructed during British time, an official said. Though SCB does not have exact data, nearly 100 private buildings have mobile towers erected on the rooftops. Sources said SCB is now collecting data on mobile towers on private buildings.―Times of India