BEST committee members allege that Reliance Jio’s proposed rent for erecting 4G towers in 13 of the undertaking’s depots across the city is less than the ready reckoner rates for the areas
Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd’s plan to erect Ground Based Masts (GBMs) at BEST bus depots for its 4G broadband services has run into rough waters with some BEST committee members claiming that the rent that the company has proposed to pay is less than what it should be.
Reliance’s masts require around 9 sq. metres of space and authorities claim that the existing telecom towers with antennas need at least 30-50 sq. metres
“The company wants to erect 14 GBMs at 13 bus depots across Mumbai, for which we will be charging rent,” said a BEST official. Sources said that as per the current proposal the undertaking stands to earn an annual average rent of Rs 57,442 per site.
The depots are spread across Mumbai and include Backbay depot, Colaba, Worli, Bandra, Marol, Majas, Pratiksha Nagar and Kurla, with Pratiksha Nagar set to have two GBMs
The contract is said to be for five years and the masts require around 9 sq. metres of space and authorities claim that the existing telecom towers with antennas, which are erected on terraces of buildings, need at least 30-50 sq. metres.
“We will be earning about Rs 8.04 lakh from all these sites together. This is a big sum,” said a BEST official. Not everyone, however, agrees with this assessment.
“The company is paying far less than the existing ready reckoner rates for the properties,” said K Hombalkar, BEST Committee member from MNS. The committee members feel that the market prices are much higher than those quoted by the company.
“These GBMs will be erected on the ground floor, away from the area where buses ply. The problem
is, they will be close to our offices situated there. Also, the permission should not exceed five years, so that the committee can then decide on renewal or termination,” said Sunil Ganacharya, BEST Committee member from Shiv Sena.
The existing telecom towers installed by various companies have led to questions about health hazards. People have also complained that buildings tremble slightly due to the movement of the telecom towers installed on the terrace.
The other side
“Reliance Jio had requested for 2 sq metres of land for the GBM towers at 24 bus depots in Mumbai. The proposed rates are higher than ready reckoner rates. Please note that Jio is one of the most transformational initiatives of Reliance.
By building the largest broadband network that the world has ever seen, Reliance Jio will be one of the largest job-creating and wealth-creating business initiatives in India,” said an official from the company, adding further, “there is no health hazard whatsoever due to radiation from mobile towers.
The disinformation campaign is a myth and an orchestration by interested parties.” The official pointed out that in a recent Special Civil application filed regarding the installation of 4G towers, on September 5, Gujarat HC directed the state and the Centre to create public awareness that there is no reason to fear the emission of radioactive waves from mobile towers.
The HC had also observed that the use of even AM Radio, FM Radio etc. is more harmful to human beings compared to Base Transceiver Stations and mobile towers.