As part of an initiative to dispel concerns surrounding the effect of mobile towers on public health, the Cellular Operator’s Association of India (COAI) is set to launch ‘Tarang Sanchar’, a website mapping all cell phone towers and base transceiver stations (BTS) across the country.
The portal once certified and approved by the Department of Telecommunication (DOT) will give the public users real-time data on the Electric Magnetic Frequency (EMF) being emitted by the mobile towers.
“Despite various experts stating that EMF from cell phone towers does not cause cancer there are doubts still existing around the cell phone industry based on half baked research. The website is intended to put speculation at rest,” the Director General of COAI Rajan S Mathews said.
Users will also be given access to the details of the tower like its ownership, name of the BTS operator, commissioned date, inspection data and details of complaints.
The COAI along with telecom players like Airtel, BSNL, Idea, Vodafone, Aircel will aggregate the details of 5,00,000 towers and 7,50,000 BTS installations in the country and bring it under one domain. The website will allow users to look at the EMF emitted by a mobile tower by merely entering the circle address and providing an email address.
Through the portal, the COAI is aiming to show that EMF emissions for mobile towers in the country are in the ‘safe’ zone of 4.5 W/Square Meter set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to the Deputy Director General of Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM), Department of Telecommunication, Satyanarayana Reddy, 100 percent of private operators are complying to safety standards with over 90 percent having EMF levels well below the permissible limits.TERM has taken cognizance of complaints by the public if the BTS posted on top of a tower is in line with apartments of the same height or within a 10 meter radius.
“We have asked tower operators to relocate or change the direction of their BTS in some instances where the towers are too close to residents. The penalty that can range upto Rs. 10 lakh for non-compliance of our EMF norms,” Reddy said. TERM official claim that transparency of information will save the cellular operators from baseless complaints. TERM is closely monitoring the development of COAI’s monitoring website.