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Air Conditioner Permit Axed

City Hall blew away a bit of red tape Tuesday.

Apartment dwellers will no longer have to obtain a costly permit to place an air conditioner outside their homes, Interfax reported.

The permit costs up to 100,000 rubles ($3,550), and it can take up to six months to receive one.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin backed a proposal to cancel the permits that was offered by Deputy Mayor Pyotr Biryukov at a City Hall meeting.

Biryukov said the process to obtain the permits "displeased" and "worried" Muscovites, Interfax reported. To issue a permit, city authorities had to check whether the wall might break under the weight of the air conditioner, whether the air conditioner might detach from the wall and fall on someone's head and whether the noise it made might disturb neighbors, among other things.

Last summer's heat wave and smog depleted stores of their supplies of air conditioners, even though air conditioners remain a luxury for many Russians.

Stores order air conditioners two to three months in advance and use weather forecasts to determine the amount. The federal weather bureau has not yet made forecasts for the upcoming summer.

A ban on placing air conditioners on the outside wall of a historical buildings remains, although it is often violated, state television Vesti reported last week.

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