DoT Urges Aviation Authorities To Resolve Mobile Tower Installation Issues At Airports At The Earliest

by Bhaswati Guha Majumder - Jan 15, 2022 03:06 PM +05:30 IST
DoT Urges Aviation Authorities To Resolve Mobile Tower Installation Issues At Airports At The Earliestmobile towers (representative image) (Pexels/Pixabay)
Snapshot
  • If applications for permissions pending with the AAI and the JCES are not dealt with within 30 days after submission, they would be considered cleared, claimed a letter dated 12 January.

The government has released guidelines to help resolve concerns with the placement of mobile phone towers at and near airports as quickly as possible.

If applications for permissions pending with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Joint Communications & Electronic Staff (JCES) are not dealt with within 30 days after submission, they would be considered cleared, claimed a letter dated 12 January, written by LD Meghwal, senior deputy wireless adviser at the Department of Telecommunications, to the AAI general manager and JCES director.

According to Economic Times, the chief secretaries of the states and union territories where such approvals are pending, as well as the secretary at the Ministry of Civil Aviation, received a copy of the letter.

As per the report, the letter stated: “The clearance shall have the following condition: ‘The physical construction of the tower shall not be commenced before the 16th day of the issuance of clearance.”

The government had taken steps to streamline the certification procedure for telecom towers by the Standing Advisory Committee on Radio Frequency Allocations (SACFA), including self-declaration based, automated time-bound approvals. SACFA — which includes both AAI and JCES as members — has to approve the height and location of each tower that a telecom operator proposes to build anywhere.

The AAI — which is responsible for a significant number of approvals —added 121 non-licensed state-government-controlled airports to the protection list in 2015 but now the number is 97, according to Meghwal.

They are, however, demonstrating their inability to process the pending cases linked to these airports. He went on to say that the 97 airports are dispersed throughout 23 states or union territories.

Meghwal also stated that the time it takes to secure permissions is slowing down the implementation and extension of telecom networks, as well as the spread of broadband, especially in rural and underserved areas.

However, the letter further added that if an airstrip or the airport does not have the required licenses or clearances from the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation or the AAI, it will not be recognised by the SACFA siting clearance system.

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