Shimla: In a shocking report prepared by the Shimla Municipal Corporation, out of the 171 mobile phone towers (cell sites) in Shimla 152 towers have been erected illegally without permission in the town.
As per the report only 19 building owners have taken permission to erect towers from the Municipal Corporation and the rest 152 owners did not bother to take any permission. The report mentions that more than 90 towers in the town have been erected near educational and health institutions which is a clear violation of High Court orders.
Maximum number of 19 towers has been erected in Balluganj area followed by 18 towers in Kasumpati .
MC Shimla charges Rs. 10,000 for each tower and the building owners also pays tax on the income from these towers. According to rough estimates, the municipal corporation is loosing on revenue over 16 lakhs annually due to such illegal towers.
The report was prepared after notice was issued to Member Parliament (Kangra) Rajan Sushant over illegal tower in his premises in Chotta Shimla following complaints from the residents in the area.
In March 2010, town and country planning minister Mahinder Singh had admitted in Vidhan Sabha that out of 118 towers in Shimla, 99 were illegal.
The whole issue speaks volume of the state of governance in Shimla as the government and the municipal corporation are treading cautiously since big names like those of the MPs are involved.
This also brings the working of mobile companies under scanner as they have been flouting norms by erecting towers across Shimla without any regard to the law.
Currently Airtel, Reliance, Tata, Idea, BSNL, Vodafone, S-Tel and Aircel offer mobile telephony in Shimla.