Over the last few months, several cases of telecom tower installation fraud have been reported from across the country. Fraudsters have duped land or premise owners of large sums of money on the pretext of issuing a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
The dubious companies or individuals somehow convince people to deposit huge amounts in their bank accounts as government tax or for clearing of the advanced payment in lieu of renting the premises for installation of mobile towers. However, after collecting the money, they either disappear or issue a fake NOC on behalf of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.
The TRAI on several occasions has warned the general public to beware of impostors who approach them with a promise to issue NOCs or permissions to install mobile towers. The telecom watchdog has also clarified that it has no role in handing out NOCs for tower installations.
"The public at large is hereby informed that the TRAI is not directly or indirectly involved in levying any tax/fees on leasing the premises for installation of a mobile tower or for issuing any 'No Objection Certification' for the purpose," the TRAI had said in a notice last year.
It informed that the installation of towers falls under the responsibilities of telecom service providers and infrastructure service providers.
"A mobile tower may be installed by either telecom service provider or infrastructure service provider (IP-I) as per their licensing/registration conditions. List of the telecom service providers and IP-I service providers is available on Department of Telecommunications (DoT) website i.e. www.dot.gov.in," the TRAI had added.
Further, the TRAI warned that any person or entity found fraudulently involved in such activity using its name or logo is liable to be prosecuted under applicable law.
Recently, a campaign was launched to spread awareness among citizens via a text message to prevent them from falling prey to the mischiefs. "TRAI does not issue NOC for installation of mobile towers," the regulator's SMS read. It also appealed to the victims to report the matter with the local law enforcement agencies.