The Rajasthan High Court on Friday ordered all base towers — including Reliance Jio Infocomm’s 4G telecom services — erected without permission from the city authorities to be removed. Reliance Jio, the respondents, said their towers meet and exceed all the norms.
The court order, which also banned new installations, was issued following a petition by a former judge of the high court and a citizen of the city who alleged the 4G base towers were being erected in the city without permission of the Jaipur Development Authority.
The bench of Chief Justice Sunil Ambwani and Justice Ajit Jain, in their brief order, said those towers for which permission has not been taken would have to un-installed within a time-frame of four weeks.
The order said since hundreds of towers have already been erected in the city and some 1,800 more are in the pipeline, it was found appropriate to bar further installations, except where permissions has been given under the byelaws in consultation with with citizens.
“New towers are the only way to obviate the menace of call drops, call failure, interminable buffering of data and video,” a spokesperson for Reliance Jio said, reacting to the court’s order.
“While achieving this matter of great public interest, Reliance Jio remains committed to conform to all regulatory requirements and a country-wide broadband network aligned to the government’s vision of digital India,” the spokesperson added.
“Towers (of Reliance Jio) meet and exceed rigorous national and international standards and statutory requirements as mandated by law. Being next-generation and battery-operated, they require very little space on the ground compared to conventional mobile towers.”
According to available information, new towers are being erected in 2,100 places in Rajasthan and some 1,400 of them have already been commissioned. Also among them, 1,200 towers have formal permissions, while 200 towers are deemed to have been approved.
The petition mentioned that as per an order issued by the city’s urban development ministry in February this year, permission for tower erection would be deemed to have been given if the matter was not disposed of within 60 days. The period was reduced to 45 days later.
Reliance Jio said, besides conforming to the norms, the towers were actually also “green” as they do not require accessories like generators and diesel storage. “Also, the towers can be used for vital public infrastructure such as area lighting, public messaging and security.”