Court to hear plea against Raj HC order banning towers from public-use buildings

Beginning today, the country’s highest court will hear petitions filed by telecom-industry lobbies challenging a recent Rajasthan High Court order that directed telecom companies to remove cellphone towers from schools, hospitals, jails and heritage buildings in the state amid claims that tower radiation was harmful. Officials of two leading industry associations, representing mobile operators and telecom tower companies, feel the Supreme Court’s verdict in the case could set a precedent on where all towers can be located and how they operate.

Cellphone towers are facing maximum opposition in Mumbai and Delhi, with approximately 120 and 110 leases cancelled or not renewed.

"The number of cellphone towers whose lease agreements have not been renewed or cancelled is rising," said Rajan Mathews, director-general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). There have been five cancellations/non-renewals in West Bengal and 8-10 in Kerala.

Global consumer brand Motorola Mobility has been recognised for obtaining 66% of its electricity used in its US operations from wind power.

With radiation scare leading to a clampdown on mobile tower installations, the most discernible fallout is the rising incidence of call drops in cities such as Delhi and Mumbai.

Ironically, the more serious worry is that weaker signals are forcing mobile handsets to compensate by ramping up transmission power, effectively resulting in higher radiation exposure for users from the phone itself.

The Supreme Court on Monday extended by three weeks the January 27 deadline set by the Rajasthan High Court to remove mobile phone towers installed overhead or in the vicinity of schools, hospitals and playgrounds.

Hearing an appeal by the telecom operators against the high court order of November 27, the apex court also issued notices to the Centre and Rajasthan government. A division bench of the Rajasthan High Court had held mobile towers as a health hazard and directed telecom service providers operating in the state to remove within two months their towers falling in the vicinity of schools, hospitals and playgrounds.

These are the revised policy guidelines for installation of mobile towers in the city of Mumbai published by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.

Pune: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) plans to carry out a survey of cell towers in the city to identify unauthorised towers.

The building permission department has submitted a proposal to the standing committee to appoint an agency for the survey. The proposal is expected to come up before the panel at it’s meeting on Tuesday. The civic administration had issued tenders for the survey last year. Three agencies had participated n the tender process, of which one agency has to be selected.

Illegal and clandestine transmissions by private players at levels much higher than the telecom regulator-prescribed 20 Watt are leading to problems in the city, says a preliminary report by KEM Hospital submitted to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

“If the cell companies put up towers at the specified limit, they will need more towers. This does not go well with their businesses. Hence, illegal and clandestine transmissions at a higher power are used as a means to reduce the required number of towers, risking the population of RF radiations,” said the report by the committee chaired by KEM Dean Dr Sandhya Kamat.

Telecom operator Bharti Airtel on Sunday said it has installed a 100 kw solar power plant in Lucknow, which would help save 26,000 litres of diesel per year consumed to power its major routing centre.

“Bharti Airtel has installed a solar power plant at Gangaganj, Lucknow. This location is one of the major switching and routing centre, which processes the voice and data traffic for the telecom operator,” it said in a statement.

Citing a possibility of severe disruption in cellular services in the state, telecom operators on Friday moved the Supreme Court against a Rajasthan High Court’s order on removal of all mobile phon