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Cellphone towers on rooftops to go
Pakistan Created: 20 Jul 2009
ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has decided to bar mobile phone companies from installing base transceiver system (BTS) towers on rooftops in the city.

The companies will at the same time be given three months to relocate existing BTS towers made up of boosters and antennas from rooftops to the land provided by the authority, itís learnt.

In October 2005 when a strong earthquake struck the city, the CDA had also warned the mobile phone companies against mounting BTS towers on high-rises and plazas but the illegal activity continued with impunity.

Currently, there are 143 illegal and 80 legal BTS towers in the city.

According to a senior CDA official, the authorityís new chairman, Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, has directed the Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) to slap a complete ban on the BTS tower installation on rooftops for the safety of peopleís health, and submit revised version of the existing policy in this respect to the CDA board for approval.

He said currently, mobile phone firms could install the BTS towers at the places of their choices, including rooftops and greenbelts.

The official said under the current policy, a cellphone operator had to pay the CDA Rs 50,000 before installing a BTS tower on rooftop and Rs 15,000 in the greenbelt.

He said the CDA had planned crackdown on mobile phone companies, which had illegally mounted such equipment on buildings and in the greenbelts. He said such companies would be handed down heavy penalty.

The official said cellphone operators would be provided land for relocating BTS towers from rooftops to the ground and anyone not doing the needful within three months would be dealt with strictly.

He said the CDA would exempt from monthly fee for two years the operators, which shift their legal BTS towers from rooftops to the CDA allotted land within the stipulated period.

The official said the Environment Ministry had complained to the CDA that the BTS towers emitted signals unsafe for human health, and demanded action against the culpable people and firms.

He said under the rules, the cellphone operators were to seek a declaration from the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) that the BTS towers they were interested in installing were environment-friendly.
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Source: Daily Times, Fazal Sher, 18 Jul 2009

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