Cellular service providers install towers ‘illegally'

They are all illegal. But they continue to exist since years, causing dents in the coffers of Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB), besides posing a threat to residents.

Authorities clueless

Despite there being no provision for installation of towers, about 50 towers of different cellular service providers are installed in many colonies in Cantonment. Though the companies, which have installed these towers, pay rent to the building owners, they do not pay any tax to the SCB.

Interestingly, even as years have pass by, SCB authorities are clueless about the number of such towers existing in cantonment limits. More importantly, they have not even worked out a plan to address the problem.

Generally, telecom companies have to seek the permission of local bodies like municipalities and corporations for installing such towers.

They have to fulfil certain norms like structural stability and the likes while also paying certain amount as tax. All this is lacking in SCB.

Only an informal agreement between building owners and the company over installation of towers has been the norm here.

While, the company pays monthly rent to the owners, the Board does not earn any revenue out of such agreements and as a result, this causes a dent in the Board's coffers, points out a member.

It's not just about revenue but also about residents' safety as many of these towers were installed six to seven years ago and none monitors the structural stability of these towers. Companies hardly check these aspects and it can be very risky for residents, says the member.

On the other hand, SCB authorities are clueless about tackling this menace. “It's an agreement between building owner and the company. Board does not have any say into such agreements”, says a senior official of SCB.

“However, we will act if neighbours complain against any new towers coming up. Recently we have also denied permissions for six such applications,” he explains. About the existing towers that came up sans any permission? “We are not going to disturb them as they were installed long time ago,” he shrugs.

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