The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) will review every year the structural stability of buildings having mobile phone towers on roofs.
Sources said the annual review will help check if any extra antenna is added to the tower. “A tower can bear the weight of a specific number of antennas. Permission is granted accordingly. It is hard to detect when an additional antenna is attached on the sly, mostly by bribing the house owner,” a telecom official said.
Ground-based towers are generally 30m tall and weighs around 50 tonne while a terrace tower is about 7m and weighs 5 tonne or less. An extra antenna, generally weighing around 2 tonne each, may damage a building. The risk increases during inclement weather as the tower may collapse and injure people.
“We used to test a building’s structural stability only once before giving permission to build the tower. The new norms state that the stability of a building must be reviewed every year,” a CMC official said.
Other than the annual review, officials of the civic body and the department of telecommunications (DoT) have chalked out some strict norms to ensure public safety.
The company seeking permission to build a cell phone tower must obtain the consent of tenants living on the roof, even if the house owner gives the go-ahead. It must also get the fire safety clearance for towers on highrises and a safety certificate if diesel generators are used to power the transmission machines.
The Centre had asked the state governments to consider some specific guidelines before granting permission to build mobile phone towers on roofs.
Several buildings in Calcutta, especially those at Burrabazar, where diesel tanks to run generators are stored on roofs without adhering to safety precautions.
“A fire safety clearance is important to ensure that the building has enough measures in place,” the telecom official said.
The new rules also state that the companies have to provide the CMC a clutch of documents such as self-attested papers specifying the radiation limit of the tower and whether it complies with the safety standards or not.
These documents — especially on radiation limit — must be sent first to the Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cell, a wing of the DoT. A receipt from the enforcement wing will have to be attached with the documents given to the civic body.
The file must contain no-objection certificate from the fire department and a signed clearance from tenants, if any, living on the roof.
If the papers are in order, the CMC is duty-bound to grant approval within a specific time, the norms state.
The DoT has been forced to come up with the radiation rule in the face of increased concern by residents that “energy waves” from the towers, which is a highly debatable subject, can cause debilitating health problems.
The guidelines were also imperative because the Union government has given the status of infrastructure to telecom towers and the DoT wants to speed up the process of granting permission for construction of cell phone towers.
NEW: Annual review of structural stability of buildings having towers
OLD: Test was done only once, before granting permission
NEW: NOC from fire service for towers in highrises
OLD: NOC was not needed
NEW: Consent of tenants on the roof
OLD: No such provision
NEW: Specify tower radiation limit