Karnataka government comes out with draft byelaws for mobile towers and optical fibre cables
An application was filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act on January 24, 2013, seeking information about the number of telecom towers in the Bangaluru, restrictions against putting up the telecom towers, existing laws and mechanism to check radiation from the towers and the agency, if any, entrusted with the job of monitor them. Office of the Chief Secretary of Karnataka, Principal Secretary in the Urban Development Department (UDD), Principal Secretary in the Environment and Forests Department and the BBMP were requested to provide the aforesaid information.
Almost after two years after the filing of the RTI application, the BBMP still does not have information on the exact number of telecom towers in its jurisdiction. The BBMP has informed the applicant that no permission was required for installing telecom towers, even on the residential buildings, and hence the information was not available.
Now, the state government of Karnataka has come up with draft byelaws regarding the installation of telecom towers and laying of optical fibre cable as a part of its telecom policy. As per the guidelines:-
· The Corporations have the power to allow laying of ducts with sufficient bandwidth capacity.
· A timeline of 68 days has been fixed for the BBMP to give all the clearances for infrastructure of telecom, if all the conditions are duly met by the applicant.
· The licence granted by the corporation for the laying of the OFCs shall not be transferable.
· The use of electricity poles for laying of overhead communication cables is prohibited.
· The maximum permissible height of the mast – either ground based or rooftop mast based - shall not exceed 30 metres from the adjoining ground level.
· The minimum distance between two masts shall be 150 metres in line of sight.
· The maximum permissible height of the mobile towers shall be 75 metres from the adjoining ground level.
· The bye law ds not fully prohibit erection of the mobile towers avoided in narrow lane, and just says that it should be avoided in lanes below five metres in width.
· The byelaws call for checking of the radiation level at regular intervals and its reporting to the competent authority with a provision for imposition of penalty for non-compliance.
The draft proposes that all unauthorised OFCs should be removed once the rules are in force, however, the implementation would be keenly watched as the issue of the mobile towers is endemic throughout the country.