NAVELIM: Riding roughshod over the opposition to the installation of mobile towers, the government has issued directives to mobile companies to install mobile towers in villages without seeking permission from village panchayats.
The development attains significance as gram sabhas of several village panchayats in Salcete taluka have decided to grant temporary no-objection certificates for installing mobile towers for smooth Internet connectivity during the BRICS Summit to be held in Goa later this month.
The new notification has said that mobile towers can be put up without waiting for NoCs from village panchayats and municipalities.
The government has also identified 44 sites on its buildings for installation of mobile towers to meet the allotment of 102 sites. Ironically, just 12 permissions have been granted thus far. As per information available, three towers have been proposed to be set up on sites belonging to the fisheries department, police (2), sports and youth affairs (5), directorate of education (7), directorate of panchayats (5), electricity department (1), PWD (15), directorate of art and culture (1) health (3), comunidade administration (1) and GTDC (1).
The new notification, which has been issued by the directorate of panchayat based on communication from the Union ministry of telecommunications, has pointed out that despite the necessary directions issued to 18 panchayats for issuance of NoCs for installing 61 BTS only two NoCs have been issued by the Carmona village panchayat, as a result it may not be possible to meet the desired connectivity targets.
The notification has also said that cellular operators of India in a letter have mentioned that despite directions of the government none of the panchayats are willing to issue NoCs and are subjected to hindrance of work.
The letter has ruled out use of temporary towers based on trucks citing them to be unviable as the sites identified as mobile towers are moved to the location with a 15-tonne prime mover, and the roads being narrow it will be difficult to move these bulky vehicles.
The vehicles do not get necessary turning radius to reach the designated spot and will result in cutting a large number of trees and moving overhead electricity cables besides requiring larger plot size and diesel generators, the letter has said.
The letter has said that without consultation with the village panchayats the government should issue NoCs to the mobile infrastructure companies for installing mobile towers to provide the network connectivity in all the 18 village panchayats.