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Maharashtra: Only 23 of 2k mobile towers in Thane district legal

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As reported by Nitin Yeshwantrao on 25 April 2011:



Only 23 of 2k mobile towers in Thane district legal


THANE: Only 23 of the total 2,169 towers installed by mobile companies on building terraces and vacant plots across Thane district are legal, according to the information compiled by the district collectorate. The towers were erected without the permission of the municipal bodies or the state revenue department.


The district administration has now sent notices to 1,880 such illegal towers. It has also sought Rs 5.69 crore as fine from the plot owners and housing societies which allowed the towers to be set up on their premises.


In Thane city alone, all the 1,088 mobile towers have been installed without the permission of the municipal corporation. Notices have been slapped on all the 1,088 housing societies and a fine of Rs 35 lakh has been recovered. "We still need to collect Rs 2.79 crore as fines," said an official.


"A plot owner receives anything between Rs 6,000 and Rs 10,000 per month from a mobile company in lieu of the land used to install the tower. However, when two parties enter into such a commercial agreement, they must inform the local revenue officials as the land use changes. However, many choose to ignore this and have been fined,'' a district collectorate official told TOI.


RTI activist Nainesh Dolas , who had sought information on illegal cellphone towers in the district, has asked the officials to explain the delay in initiation of action against such towers. "The officials have collected only Rs 1.15 crore as fines. Most of the owners of illegal mobile towers continue to function with impunity.. and an amount of Rs 5.69 core is yet to be recovered from them. The district officials must explain why the delay in recover and acting against those flouting rules''


Officials at the district collectorate, however, said that most of the illegal towers are in the jurisdiction of the municipal corporation or municipal council. "In such cases, action has to be taken by the civic authorities," said the official.


The mobile towers has become a contentious issue in most housing societies as majority of members are averse to installing one on the building terraces for fear of radiation. However, one section of the people said their fears of radiation effects are not scientifically proven and that the towers are a big source of revenue for the housing society.

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