Mumbai. It what can possibly be the latest scam to hit India and expose a possible conspiracy between real estate builders and telecom companies, it is alleged that the flurry of multi-storey skyscraper projects seen across India might be partially funded by telecom companies, who hope to reap in returns from higher roaming income which can occur once people go above a certain height in the building.
It was alleged that most of these skyscrapers are 50, 60, 70 storeys high, and the existing range of the telecom circle of that area might not be capable of handling vertical limit. It will be a case of ‘moving out of circle’s range’ and chances to charge roaming fee, hence the term ‘Roaming Skyscraper. (India is divided into regions for telecom licenses, and each region is referred to as a circle. Once subscribers move out of their home circle, they get charged a roaming tariff).
It was also alleged that sale of units in those skyscrapers is being done on top-down basis, i.e. apartments in the 60th storey of a 60 storey project are being allocated first, which would ensure more of the upper storey units are taken up and increased chances of roaming.
However, the officials approached by the news reporter clarified that this is not roaming charge in its true sense, since roaming really refers to moving to another telecom provider’s circle. When one is going above a certain altitude, it is going beyond all existing circles. Hence, they preferred to refer to it as a ‘convenience fee’ for mobile access, or rather, a ‘heavenly fee’. Secondly, they argued what was wrong in finance from a telecom company? After all, it is just an investor in a project. Multi-storey projects are just picking up due to lack of space in Indian cities.
Incidentally, leading feminists organized a nation-wide silent-protest against an alleged remark by one of the officlas who had been approached by a news reporter. The remark was that builders prefer buyers who have ‘gossiping’ women and girls in their families, since it meant more talk-time usage on the mobile and enhanced chances of roaming charges. Feminists argued such a remark was extremely gender-biased, unthoughtful and insensitive which brought out the worst traits of the male-biased Indian society. Hence, their protest was a ‘silent-protest’.
The Indian Misogynist Association also organized a protest, arguing that men are no less than women, and can be equally ‘gossiping’. In fact, it claimed that men can actually out-run women in this skill, if one goes by the chatter in the men washrooms. Hence, they deserved equal treatment during allocation of units in the skyscraper projects and it was unconstitunional to discrimate against them on this matter.