BMC, SRA pass the buck on removing illegal mobile tower in Chandivli

Apr 11, 2018, 20:02 IST | Laxman Singh

Residents of Chandivli housing society are fighting unending battle against illegal mobile tower in a building for a year, but BMC and SRA continue to pass the buck on taking action against it

The illegal mobile tower is on the terrace of Rajyog society in the Suprabhat housing complex. Pic/Sameer Markande
The illegal mobile tower is on the terrace of Rajyog society in the Suprabhat housing complex. Pic/Sameer Markande

The residents of Ekta housing society in Sangharsh Nagar, Chandivli have been fighting a (mobile) towering problem since 2016, but have only received empty assurances to solve it. They are facing a radiation scare, with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) allegedly refusing to take action against an illegal mobile tower erected on a building in the Suprabhat housing complex, where the buildings are based.

The housing complex is a cluster of 13 seven-floor buildings developed under a slum rehabilitation scheme a few years ago. The 'illegal' mobile tower was set up on the terrace of Rajyog housing society in 2016. Ekta society resident Devidas Patil registered a complaint against it with the BMC on December 9, 2016. He alleges BMC has only given promises and not taken any concrete action.

Issue since '16
Speaking to mid-day, Patil said, "The mobile tower was erected on the terrace of Rajyog society in December 2016. Since it was being set up very close to our home, we have raised this issue with the BMC and requested action as it was illegal and the radiation from the tower could affect us. After I complained to the L-ward (Kurla), they told me they would take action if it is illegal. Then, I filed a Right To Information (RTI) application, to which BMC itself admitted to the tower not having any permission."

Documents available with mid-day show the L-ward had issued a MRTP notice against the tower on January 5, 2017 and followed it up with a demolition notice on January 24, 2017. Following this, on April 7, 2017 for action's sake, the tower's electricity was disconnected. "The action was a complete eyewash. The electricity was restored within hours of the civic staff's departure," he added.

BMC passes the buck
Along with Patil, other members of the complex, except Rajyog society, also raised their voice and organised a signature campaign demanding the tower's removal. Chairman of the Suprabhat housing complex, Pandurang Sawant, said, "We don't know what level of radiation is being emitted from the tower. Now, BMC is passing the buck. First, they promised to take action against the illegal tower, but later took a U-turn and said SRA would take action. Meanwhile, SRA said they can't do anything as they are not the competent authority."

BMC changed its stand in an RTI reply to Patil on August 29, 2017, saying they can't take any action as SRA is the right authority. However, in another RTI reply on May 20, 2017, SRA informed the residents they can't take any action.

The other side
Responding to the allegations, assistant municipal commissioner of L-ward, Ajitkumar Ambi told mid-day, "We are not shunning our responsibility of taking action against mobile tower. But since SRA was the planning authority, we need it in writing from them that this mobile tower is illegal and should be demolished by BMC and all the legal consequences will be taken care of by them, or officers from their department should come along with us during the action. This is needed as the issue of mobile towers is sub-judice, and if their owners decide to move to court against BMC action then we can defend in a better way."

An official from SRA looking after this complaint said, "Our role was to rehabilitate these people. We have not given any permission for a mobile tower to be set up at the building. Action against such illegal things is supposed to be taken by the local BMC ward. Why we should give it in writing to them take action if it is illegal?"

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