With civic authorities sealing illegal mobile towers, telecom services in Noida which falls under Delhi telecom circle, have been severely affected. Things could become worse for mobile users in Delhi telecom circle if authorities in the Capital and that of Gurgaon, Faridabad and Ghaziabad decide to follow suit.
Of the 600-odd mobile towers in Noida, around 250 have already been sealed, while authorities have started a survey to find out if any more illegal towers are there. This sudden action against illegal towers has left operators in a fix as subscribers in Noida are facing serious connectivity problem for the past four days.
As per the guidelines, an operator has to take certain clearances before installing a tower, which includes structural safety clearances and no-objection certificate from resident welfare associations.
Noida authority charges Rs.1-lakh fee per tower with all these clearances. And in case if a tower is installed before taking go ahead from civic authorities, Rs.1.5 lakh has to be deposited within a stipulated time along with all necessary clearances.
According to a senior Noida official, it is here that the crux of the problem lies as mobile operators installed towers without taking clearances and now the authorities are sealing all illegal towers.
On the other hand, mobile industry associations are crying foul, alleging that the civic authorities did not give them time or notices before taking action. To get immediate relief, they are even contemplating moving court to end the sealing drive. Even the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was approached but operators failed to get any respite.
However, Noida episode could be a tip of an iceberg as industry officials reveal that in Delhi as well as other townships, over 50 per cent towers operational today are illegal as they have come up without proper clearances. In Delhi alone, of 4,532 mobile towers, 2,517 are illegal, while the situation is equally bad. If action is initiated against all illegal towers, it would leave over 1-crore subscribers in the Delhi circle badly hit.