Keeping in abeyance implementation of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi's new policy by which fee for installation of mobile towers was raised from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.5 lakh for 20 years, the Delhi High Court on Monday provided an interim solution to break the deadlock over the mobile towers issue between the civic body and the cellular operators.
Under the interim solution, each cellular operator would deposit Rs.2 lakh out of Rs.5 lakh per tower as stipulated in the civic body's policy. It would be Rs. 50,000 per service provider in case of sharing.
The amounts would be deposited in the name of the Registrar General of the High Court by way of FDRs for an initial period of six months, and for the balance amount the cellular operators would give an undertaking by way of an affidavit that they would pay the said amount along with interest thereon at the bank rate payable on the fixed deposit in the event of the policy raising the fee is ultimately upheld.
However, in the event the said fee hike was set aside by the Court, then the amount of FDRs would be released in favour of the licensees along with interest accrued thereupon, the order passed by Justice Kailash Gambhir said.
The Court passed the directions on a bunch of petitions by the Cellular Operators' Association of India and others challenging the new policy.
In the light of the aforesaid directions, the MCD's latest policy shall remain in abeyance till the final disposal of the petitions, the order said.
However, the Court made it clear that the service providers shall continue to remain bound by the terms of the earlier policies of the local body announced in 2003 and 2008.
The Court also impleaded the Centre as a party to the petitions. It further ordered that the Secretary, Telecommunications, and Commissioner of the civic body, should constitute a broad-based committed of technical and medical experts who would examine the technical and medical aspects of installation of mobile towers.