Experts should probe hazards from cell towers: HC
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Last Updated: Monday, May 31, 2010, 17:45
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Monday directed the Telecommunication Secretary and the MCD Commissioner to set up a committee comprising technical and medical experts to inquire about potential health hazards due to radiation from mobile towers.

While seeking a report in this regard within three months, the High Court also provided interim relief to the cellular operators by allowing them to operate mobile towers in the city by depositing Rs 2 lakh instead of Rs 5 lakh.

The order passed by Justice Kailash Gambhir said that Rs 2 lakh would be kept with High Court Registrar General for six months as a fixed deposit and an additional Rs 50,000 will need to be paid by the operators who are using towers on sharing basis for each such tower.

The court said the committee on the health issue should also include as its members some NGOs working in the telecom field and the association of cellular operators. The Telecommunication Secretary has been asked to convene the meeting of the committee in two weeks.

The court noted that there is no concrete finding on the potential health hazards due to radiation from mobile towers.

During the last hearing, the court had asked the MCD to explain the rationale behind raising the tower installation charges from Rs 1 lakh to 5 lakhs.

The High Court had on May 13 restrained the civic body from sealing illegal mobile phone towers in the capital after the mobile operators approached it challenging the decision of the MCD to seal the towers of the mobile operators who did not deposit the raised fee.

The mobile operators had contended that the decision of the MCD to hike the charges was "arbitrary" and without any sound basis.

The MCD had started the sealing of illegal mobile phone towers after the deadline for operators to apply for regularisation after paying the hiked amount had expired.

MCD had said that out of 5,364 towers in the city, only 2,412 have requisite permission and the remaining 2,952 were illegal in all the city's 12 municipal zones.

The MCD had on February 9 brought in a new policy on mobile towers revising the guidelines for cell towers and hiked the amount payable by the service providers to the MCD for installing a tower from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.


First Published: Monday, May 31, 2010, 17:45

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