Cellphone Towers Affecting Building Safety To Be Razed

Mobile towers that pose a danger to the structural stability of buildings may soon be removed by Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG), officials said on Monday.

MCG commissioner Yashpal Yadav said the municipal agency is trying to regularise all mobile towers in the city.

Prior to sanctioning licences for mobile towers, an official from the engineering wing will inspect the buildings that have mobile towers erected on them. Following structural integrity tests, if the tower is found to not a pose a threat to the stability of the building, the licence will be approved.

“I was apprised that many residential buildings in the city, which had mobile towers on their rooftops or terraces, may not be able to support the weight of the structure and these remain susceptible to collapse. In this regard, a letter was sent last week to the department of telecommunications asking them to submit data on all mobile towers operating within the MCG’s jurisdiction. Simultaneously, the telecom companies were asked to provide details of their existing towers,” he added.

Yadav said that once requisite details of all existing mobile towers are obtained, the regularisation process will start. “If a tower is found to be a threat to the structural stability of a building it has been erected upon, telecom companies will be directed to relocate the tower, failing which it will be demolished,” Yadav added.

Officials said the process will help the MCG earn revenue through license fee from telecom companies, adding it is expected to fetch about Rs. 20-30 crore.

An MCG survey in March, 2018 had found that there were around 580 mobile towers in the city, of which only 26 were found to be regularised. Yadav said he had convened a meeting with representatives of all major telecom companies in May last year for regularising mobile towers. However, the rules had proved to be a hindrance. “The companies had said that according to the government of India, only the nodal officer (the deputy commissioner) was authorised to regularise mobile towers. Hence the process could not be completed at the time. Last month, the urban local bodies reviewed this policy and instructed the MCG to charge license fee from companies, and regularise the towers,” he said.

In March last year, the state government had appointed the deputy commissioner as the nodal officer for mobile towers. Prior to this, there was confusion among several bodies such as the district administration, the MCG, the Haryana Urban Development Authority, and the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation on which the body was empowered to regularise and monitor operations of mobile towers in the city.

HT had reported in February last year that none of the mobile towers in the city had fire clearances. According to IS Kashyap, the assistant divisional fire safety officer, any structure which does not have “occupancy” is not mandated to obtain a fire no-objection certificates (NOC), according to the rules of the Haryana Fire Service Act. In 2009 and 2010, several mobile towers had caught fire, one of which had spread to the residential building the tower was erected upon, fire officials said. A senior MCG official said the regularisation will not makefire NOCs compulsory as “there is no law or rule” for this.―Hindustan Times

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