Now 4G cells proposed on street light poles in Mumbai

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 18 Februari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Close on the heels of citizens protesting against 4G towers in city gardens, there is now a proposal to install 4G cells on the streetlight poles in island city.

The BEST, which may soon approve the proposal for a pilot project in D ward, has added a note of caution though. It has put the onus on Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL), saying the latter will have to deal with citizens' protests, if any, and "should not expect any help from BEST on that front".

The proposal, which will come up for clearance at the next BEST committee meeting, seeks approval for a "pilot project of installing the small cells (radiating 4G signals on voice and data) on 25 street light poles in D ward."

It is learnt that RJIL had requested permissions to commence the pilot project on 215 poles in D ward, but the BEST will allow the testing only on 25 poles -- which will be selected mutually in such a way that a pocket of area will be formed for 4G connectivity. "The BEST will check the feasibility of this project which will aid in future tendering process for such 4G installations in some of the other poles," an official said. The BEST owns a total 32,685 street light poles in the island city.

The proposal copy mentions : "Any complaint or litigation against BEST for this installation from any individual, group, institute, NGO, etc shall be clarified and satisfied by RJIL at their own cost. BEST will in no way be answerable/liable for such complaints. If it is required by BEST's representatives to attend such court cases, RJIL shall compensate for manpower, advocate and court fee borne by the BEST."

The BEST will also have powers to remove the 4G communication equipment by giving 48 hours notice to RJIL. A RJIL spokesperson said all towers and 4G installations are 100% safe and built in conformity with approvals. India's standards have been kept much much higher than even WHO standards. "They are not hazardous to public health,'' he said.

A Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) official said : "The BMC recently authorised setting up of 4G towers. Instead of educating the masses on benefits of low-power and optical fibre connected towers, the BMC has remained silent. What is required is what the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has done. The DDA sought scientific clarifications on the 4G towers from the DoT and is now openly educating Delhi citizens on the harmlessness of the towers. The BMC should carry out similar campaigns." Anti-radiation activists, however, argued that 4G towers may pose a radiation risks and some of them coming up in gardens were "unwarranted."

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