Service providers have to pay Rs. 30,000 a year to civic body
Cell phone towers within the Corporation limits are henceforth taxable. Mobile phone service providers installing the towers will have to pay Rs. 30,000 a year to the civic body. And, the owners of the site or building housing the towers will have to pay property tax on commercial tariff.
The Corporation decided this at its last Council meeting on Monday. It was, however, silent on how much to tax land owners for the towers on their lands.
The Council also decided to bring mobile phone towers under the ambit of the Dangerous and Offensive Licence.
Commissioner T.K. Ponnusamy said the civic body would issue permission for the installation of the towers only if the structure was safe. “Corporation engineers will henceforth carry out structural safety tests and only then grant permission.”
Monday's discussion and decision on taxing mobile phone towers comes after the Coimbatore Corporation announced in 2010-11 budget its intention to tax the towers to boost revenue. The resolution tabled identified the towers as property and suggested charging Rs. 15,000 a tower a half-year to the Council. It also said that property tax could be reverted to residential slab when the building owner informs the civic body of the removal of the tower.
It cited the Finance and Taxation Committee's June 8, 2010 resolution fixing Rs. 100 sq.ft. as the base rate and charging the mobile phone companies based on the spread of the tower, area of the generator bed and shelter.
The resolution also suggested 75 per cent increase in property tax for structures housing the towers and another 75 per cent increase depending on the type of the building. The Councillors, however, took a different view and suggested Rs. 30,000 a tower a year and property tax at commercial rate.
C. Padmanabhan said the Council should not consider the mobile phone towers as property and ignore the sq.ft.-based approach to taxing the towers.