KOCHI: With mobile phone towers mushrooming everywhere, the State Government, with the aim of regulating the licensing procedure for telecom infrastructure, has notified that the District Collector would be the authority to sanction the installation of mobile phone towers.
In an affidavit filed before the Kerala High Court, the Information Technology Department has stated that the government had constituted state-level and district-level committees for the review of all the issues related to telecom infrastructure.
“Apart from the District Collector and the Deputy Collector, there will be eight members in each committee, including the superintendent of police and representatives of the BSNL,” Information Technology additional secretary Subhash John Mathew said. As per the guidelines set for the issuance of permit for installing mobile phone towers, the District Collector is the authority to give clearance, which is a pre-requisite for getting permission from the Local Self Government Department (LSGD). The IT Department made the submission following a High Court order on a petition filed by Reliance Jijo Infocomm Ltd, seeking police protection for the installation of towers by telecom service providers (TSP). According to the guidelines, the TSP should submit application before the District Collector, who will sent it to the LSGD, the Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring Cell (TERM Cell) of the Department of Telecommunication (DoT), the State Pollution Control Board (PCB) and the District Medical Officer (DMO).
The IT Department further submitted that the government had also formed State and district telecom committees to address the grievances of the public, and to levy a nominal onetime administration fee for issuing permission for installing the towers.
“The guidelines stipulate that the State may provide single-window-clearance in a time-bound manner to the telecom service providers through local bodies/State Government for the speedy issuance of clearances,” the Department said. “The government also intends to bring in necessary amendments to the Kerala Municipality Building Rules (KMBR) and the Kerala Panchayat Building Rules (KPBR) to make it mandatory that a onetime fee of `5,000 be remitted by way of demand draft drawn in favour of the Kerala State IT Mission, as a pre-requisite for getting licence from the local body,” the affidavit stated.