Civic stick on phone towers

The standing committee of Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Thursday adopted Bihar Commercial Towers and Related Structures Rules, 2011, to stop haphazard construction of cellphone service providers' towers.

The committee also adopted Patna Municipal Corporation (Grant of Permission for Display of Advertisement and Similar Devices) Rules, 2012.

"Adoption of such acts and rules by the standing committee is a mandatory procedure prior to the enforcement of the statutes by urban local bodies in Bihar. The two regulations, which have been earlier approved by the urban development department, were adapted during today's (Thursday's) meeting of the standing committee. The proposals would now be tabled in the next meeting of the civic body board for final approval," said Chandra Shekhar Azad, the PMC secretary.

The Bihar Communication Tower and Related Structures Rules, 2011, was approved by the cabinet on February 14, 2011 and published 10 days later. The corresponding gazette notification was issued on October 10, 2012.

The new rules prescribe that mobile towers should not be installed within a 100-m radius of schools, colleges, hospitals and commercial buildings. There are around 1,000 mobile towers in Patna. Telecom operators have claimed that they would cooperate with the civic body for compliance of the rules. "We are yet to receive any communication from the state government regarding the new rules on mobile towers. But if the rules mandate removal of the mobile towers close to health and educational establishments, then we would take the necessary steps," said M.K. Bhakta, deputy general manager (mobile), BSNL.