With 91 out of 849 Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) found to be non-compliant with prescribed radiation norms by Mumbai’s Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cell in 2012-13, the May 2015 CAG report has said the target of mandatory testing, especially in densely populated area, needs to be increased. While citizens across Mumbai have been advocating for better norms and regulations on cellphone towers, the report on the functioning of TERM Cells in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) shows poor performance in testing of BTSs.
The audit scrutiny of records, between August and September 2013, regarding number of BTS tested in respect of 27 TERM cells across the country revealed that out of a total of 6,86,548 BTS sites as on March 31, 2013, only 45,697 BTS or 3.04 per cent sites were tested
by TERM cells during the time from November 2010 to March 2013.
In Maharashtra, TERM cells of Mumbai, Nagpur and Pune were part of the audit.
“Further scrutiny revealed that in their order issued (December 2010), DoT prescribed percentage of annual tests to be conducted by TERM cells as ‘upto 10 per cent’ instead of specifying differential targets for testing of the BTSs for emission for urban and rural areas. As the metropolitan cities and other state capitals or large cities have very high number of BTSs per unit area, where more people would have higher probability of exposure to EMF in course of their normal activities, DoT failed to minimise the risks of exposure in high risk areas,” it says.