Telcos for using government buildings, premises for towers

New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) Aiming to resolve the issue of reducing telecom towers, industry leaders on Friday urged Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to facilitate a mechanism by which government buildings and premises can be used to set up cell towers.

In a CEO Roundtable organized by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in collaboration with the communications and IT ministry, many telecom industry stakeholders raised concerns over the vanishing cell towers across the country due to fears that radiation from them is a health hazard.

They also highlighted ad hoc charges being imposed by many authorities to set up towers and other infrastructure.

Prasad himself said that “regarding the issues of telecom tower radiation and health impacts, I found to my dismay that it was going haywire”.

“I myself read the WHO (World Health Organisation) report and found it (the radiation) was not harmful. There is no tangible evidence of harmful impact,” he said.

On the suggestion of using government buildings and premises for setting up of mobile towers, Prasad said: “It is an issue we can think about. I think it is a good idea.”

Noting that as minister, he is also accountable to the people of the country, Prasad asked the telecom industry stakeholders to become more proactive in dispelling misconceptions.

The IT and telecom industry stakeholders who participated in the roundtable included Bharti Airtel’s Akhil Gupta and Ajay Puri, Vodafone India’s P.Balaji, Cellular Operators’ Association of India’s Rajan S. Mathews, Xiaomi’s Manu Jain, Videocon’s Arvind Bali, Lava’s Hari Om Rai, Samsung India’s H.W.Bang among others.

Raising the ongoing problem of call drops, the minister said: “People and consumers now want quality services. I am willing to walk the extra mile. People wants pro-people services.”

About the software industry’s concern of developing products over here and selling it in the country itself, he said: “We would like to help the Indian software companies.”

Prasad said that in the last 18 months, the government has been able to set a benchmark with its approach in spectrum auction.

He said electronic manufacturing has been one of the neglected sectors, which holds great promise, and his ministry has been pursuing it vigorously and has been able to take the entire county onboard to drive this initiative.

Regarding the government’s Digital India initiative, he said: “It is an instinct, we have to make it succeed. All the ecosystems are at place.”



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