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Karnataka government issues new framework for regulation of telecom towers

June 04, 2019
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The government of Karnataka has issued a gazette notification, the Karnataka Installation of New Telecommunication Infrastructure Towers Regulation Act, 2019. The move comes after the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had recently directed the government to align its infrastructure roll out policy with the centre’s right of way (RoW) policy.

The Act states that telecommunication infrastructure towers should include ground-based towers, roof-top towers, roof-top poles, cellphone towers, antenna fixtures, fabricated antennas, towers to install telephone lines, transmission towers, cell on wheels, in-building solutions and micro sites. However, it does not include antennas installed for domestic purposes such as TV antennas or dish antennas.

The new regulatory framework grants a three-month period to companies for regulating all existing towers. It comprises a fixed one-time fee of Rs 100,000 for installation of a tower within the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits. As per the act, failure to regularise towers would empower the urban local body to take action to demolish the tower.

Since towers are governed by radio frequency system, the act calls for possible avoidance of residential areas. In residential areas, towers should be located in open spaces or community buildings in the locality. As per the act, preference would be given to the location of towers in commercial areas or other public places. Further, towers would be permitted atop rooftops of residential buildings subject to structural safety authority from a registered structural engineer.

Under the act, commissioners of municipal corporations, commissioners of city municipal councils, chief office of town municipal councils, town panchayats, and development officers of gram panchayats falling in urban development areas have been recognised as competent authorities to grant permission for installation of new telecom towers. The act grants the sanctioning authority 30 days to verify documents and issue the permit. The period of the permit can be extended for two years if the application is submitted within the valid period by paying 25 per cent of the fee.

Morever, the act calls for the establishment of district and state-level telecom panels for the redressal of grievances. While the seven-member committee at the district level will be headed by the deputy commissioner, the six-member state-level panel will be headed by the secretary of the Department of Urban Development.

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