The Chandigarh Administration will allow mobile towers in open areas in the city, subject to certain distance from the nearest building. In the outline of the new policy on ‘Towers for mobile phones and data services’, approved by the UT Administrator, it has been proposed to allow towers in open areas, excluding parks. Before making the policy public, UT officials have been asked to specify the minimum buffer zone that has to be kept in case of commercial and institutional areas. The location to allow the mobile towers would be identified by cellular operators in consultation with the UT officials concerned. In the policy, the open spaces have been defined as unused spots at parking lots, incidental open areas of institutions or atop commercial or institutional buildings that are at least 36 metres away from any residential plot. Continuing with the previous policy of not allowing towers on residential buildings, the UT has defined the location, footprint and height of the towers. Against the previous recommendation of allowing towers up to a height of 30 metres, the UT has now proposed a height of 36 metres. The operators would have to install only silent generators. No rooftop or ground-based generators will be permitted. After notifying the draft policy in 2012, the UT had invited objections from the public. The operators had also been demanding modifications in the draft policy. In 2012, the Administration had found that of the 547 mobile towers in the city, 300 were illegal. The operators were granted a stay by the court till the UT came out with a new policy. The UT Administration has proposed that operators should be asked to obtain a certificate from the Telecom Department, stating that the radiation being emitted from the antenna was within the specified norms.

Source: The Tribune, Chandigarh