Close to 2,000 residents of Kamgar Nagar Co-operative Housing Limited in Kurla (East) have dragged four row house owners to co-operatives court for illegally installing mobile towers on their terraces.
The residents have accused PK Sing, Shri Gavade, PA Gawkar and GD Vavikar of committing violations by installing the mobile towers without requisite permissions. "According to the recent co-operatives department notification, permission of 70 per cent members is required before erecting towers. We will take up the issue in the upcoming annual general body meeting in August, as the amendments arrived in June. The towers were put up in June 2011, and the notification is applicable in retrospect," said Avinash Bhate, a resident.
The housing society consists of 384 row houses or terraced houses. Of these, 14/D, 27/D, 21/D and 44/D have mobile towers perched upon their rooftops. The residents have alleged that these towers have been installed by the owners of these houses in violation of existing norms.
An RTI filed by the residents to the BMC revealed that these towers were not in the list of towers approved by the civic body. "In a reply to our query regarding the number of mobile towers legally approved by the BMC in Kurla's L-ward, we were provided with a list of 33 towers, in which the names and location of towers erected in our society did not appear. The towers have been illegally erected for financial gains," claimed Dilip Abhyankar, a resident of Kamgar Nagar.
A notice was served by BMC's assistant commissioner's office to GTL Infrastructure and Indus Towers under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966, to remove the contraptions from the row houses in January.
Officials of the tower company Indus said, "An application was made to the BMC in November 2011 for permission to install 'temporary,' mobile tower and related equipment. As there was no reply to the same within a prescribed period, the permission to set up the site was deemed to have been granted under relevant provision of law."
The residents said that the row houses stick close to each other with a low boundary wall, so the stipulated minimum distance in between is not maintained. "There should be a gap of at least 15 metres between the bungalow over which the tower is erected and the neighbouring one. But the boundary wall is merely nine inches. One of the mobile towers is directly in my face whenever I look out of my window. Sometimes I feel dizzy and even breathless," said Suresh Malwankar, who is the neighbour of Gavade, one of the row house owners.