Paving the way for 4G network in city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday gave its final nod for installing ground base masts (GBM) to a private telecommunication player. The civic general body approved the proposal without discussing it.
The municipal improvement committee had last week approved the proposal, while the standing committee had cleared it on Tuesday. Subsequently, the company is allowed to set up 1,160 GBMs across Mumbai. The GBMs are poles carrying antennae (installed for transmitting and receiving signals) at a certain height.
According to the proposal, the BMC has leased a total area of 4,400 sqm for installing the poles, ie nearly 4 sqm per GBM. The poles are likely to be erected in open spaces, like grounds and traffic islands.
As per the agreement, the corporation has permitted the company to use the space for a period of 20 years. The corporation's decision in connection with the proposal, which was forwarded to it by state government, will also apply to other telecommunication players competing to provide 4G services.
"As the proposal had come from the government, we were impelled to clear it. The proposal was not even discussed in the House and was announced approved by the mayor (Sunil Prabhu)," a Shiv Sena corporator said.
City activists, however, slammed the corporation for approving the proposal. They called the move "dejecting" in their fight against high level radiation emanated by existing cell towers, leading to health issues.
"This is a very dejecting move by the BMC for activists who have been demanding citizen-friendly policy given the high level of radiation existing cell towers emit. The BMC is encouraging private players to come and instal antennas in open spaces," Anil Joseph, chairman of Bandra's Perry Road Residents' Association, said.
He also lambasted public representatives for approving the proposal and, thereby, disappointing the public. "The municipal commissioner is a government employee, who, we can understand, is impelled to follow government orders. But the mayor and standing and improvement committee members are not. They could have opposed it, but they didn't.
It is a setback for the activists' fight..." he rued.