BMC may limit buildings to one cellphone tower in city

Here’s some good news for citizens and activists who’ve been campaigning against the ill effects of cell phone tower radiation in Mumbai for years...

Here’s some good news for citizens and activists who’ve been campaigning against the ill effects of cell phone tower radiation in Mumbai for years. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is mulling putting a cap on the number of mobile towers per building, limiting the number to one tower per building across the city.

According to current policy of BMC which came into effect in November last year, each building has a cap of two towers, something that citizens have been actively protesting against. The BMC gave an agreement in-principle to restrict the number of towers per building to one in a meeting with BJP corporator Vinod Shelar and citizens’ activist Prakash Munshi on Wednesday.

Tower radiation hazard

Towers may be restricted to one per building


"We are considering the demand to put a cap of one tower per building, but are yet to take a call on it," said Rajeev Kuknur, Chief Engineer of the development plan department. Once the rule is added to BMC’s cellphone tower policy currently being prepared, the service providers will have no option but to stick to it.

"At our meetings with the corporation, there have been a few issues on which we have had no consensus. While the DoT guidelines have defined the distance between antennae, there is no clarity on how many towers are allowed per building. Now, the BMC has in-principle agreed to our demand of one tower per building," Shelar said

Besides restricting the number of towers per building to one, there are more suggestions made by the Department of Telecom (DoT) the BMC may adopt. Telecom operators will not have to obtain permission from residents staying on the top floor of the building to install mobile towers. Earlier, the guidelines required consent from merely 70 percent of the building residents with no special mention for those staying on the top floors of the building.

The DoT advisory has also asserted that in cases of both ground-level and roof-top mobile towers, there should not be a building of equivalent height in front of the antennae. There should also not be a building in front of the antennae till a distance of 20 metres. The antennae should also be installed at least 5 metres above ground level.

The DoT has also required the BMC to form panels to address citizens’ complaints against illegal mobile towers with common public being in the panel of these committees. BMC will soon be publishing an official list of legal cellphone towers in the city. Chalk one up for citizens who have been fighting to ensure that cellphone towers do not crop up in housing societies at the cost of health and safety.

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