Concerted action by the civil society has ensured a major policy change in Mumbai. The BMC has decided to bar mobile towers from all open spaces, including playgrounds (PGs), recreation grounds (RGs) and private open spaces.
With the advent of 4G, several service providers were eying open spaces to set up their tower infrastructure. They will now to have to return to the drawing board.
The proposal will soon be presented before the Improvement Committee.
A civic official on condition of anonymity stated that the reworked policy will be tabled in the improvement committee meeting on Wednesday. “The new proposed guidelines are citizen-friendly,” the official said, adding, “The residents too should cooperate. If citizens keep on objecting to each and every spot chosen for installation of towers, mobile services will get affected.”
Residents across Mumbai – from Colaba to Shivaji Park; from Matunga/Mahim to Lokhandwala – had fought a pitched battle against the BMC’s policy allowing cell phone towers in residential areas. Last year, under pressure from residents, Colaba corporator Makrand Narvekar had moved a notice of motion to reopen a 2014 corporation resolution that empowered the BMC to allow telecom operators to set up mobile towers on RG/PGs all over the city. Citizens had even opposed installation of cell towers atop buildings as they claimed it was affecting their health due to radiation.
Earlier, the BMC used to allow mobile towers only in one corner of the open space to ensure that the play area is not affected. But citizen activists across the city had objected to the civic body’s decision claiming that radiation from towers posed threat to the children and citizens using the ground.