The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has released a draft policy to regularise unauthorised cellular towers in areas under its jurisdiction. 

According to NDMC, there are around 240 unauthorised cellular towers. Of these, 140 are located on government buildings and the rest on private buildings. The draft policy aims to modify the rules for the installation of communication towers by cellular and basic telecom operators on rooftops and ground bases within the premises and in areas under the jurisdiction of NDMC. There are four main aspects of the policy – regularisation of unauthorised towers, increase in one-time tower installation fee, renter fee for towers situated on NDMC buildings, and process to install new towers.

As per the policy document, the telecom company or service provider may apply for regularisation within 30 days of notification of this policy by paying arrears from the date of their existence, failing which NDMC shall take action against those towers as per policy. The mobile towers installed without permission post issuance of this policy may be regularised as per rules along with a penalty of Rs 10,000 per month from the date of installation of the tower. The policy also proposes to increase the one-time permission charge from Rs 200,000 to Rs 300,000 for five years. However, no change has been proposed for the monthly license fee. The draft mentions a monthly licence fee of Rs. 292 per sq. ft. per month plus service tax subject to a minimum of Rs 50,000.

Further, NDMC will invite bids instead of following a first come basis for the installation of new towers. The draft policy states that NDMC shall e-auction the sites for installation of cell on wheels (COWs) in NDMC areas on designated places on approved rates initially for three years which may be extended further for two years. The detailed terms and conditions for the installation of COWs in the NDMC area shall be available in the concerned bid documents.