Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014

No evidence that mobile towers affect people’s health: Kerala HC

Mumbai | Posted: July 16, 2013 4:28 am | Updated: April 9, 2014 5:37 pm

Stating that whether the commissioning of a mobile telecommunication tower would affect the health of people of the area is an issue which is still being debated among the scientific communities globally,the Kerala High Court recently observed that “this court has,in two decisions,held that there is no evidence that the same will affect the health of the people”.

The court made the observation while allowing the petitioner,Indus Towers Limited,Kochi,to commission telecommunication towers,if the necessary permits and licences have been obtained.

“Whether it will affect the health of the people or not,it is an undisputed fact that we are bound to live for the rest of our lives with mobile phones in our pockets. The statute prescribes certain licenses and permits for erecting telecommunication towers. All that we can ensure is that such requirements are complied with in the erection and operation of the tower,” the court observed in its order dated July 9.

The writ petition was filed on October 16,2012,seeking police protection for erecting towers at Peringmala village,Nedumangad in Thiruvananthapuram district. While Indus Towers had obtained a permit from the local authority to erect a tower,anti-mobile telecommunication tower action group,Palode,(Thiruvananthapuram) and Peringamala gram panchayat (Thiruvananthapuram) had opposed it.

“We dispose of the writ petition with a direction to respondents to see that the petitioner is not prevented from commissioning the telecommunication tower already erected,if they have all the permits and licences to operate it,” the court directed.

In a statement,Rajan S Mathews,director general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI),said: “We are fully committed to the sensitivities and concerns of our customers and believe that this landmark order will debunk several myths propagated by certain groups. I am sure the verdict of the Kerala High Court will go a long way in the removal of fears about the safety of EMF emission from telecom towers all across India.”

IIT Bombay professor Girish Kumar said judgements depend on the kind of facts which have been placed before the court. “The main problem here could be that the people concerned did not submit enough evidences or reports to the court. In its report on ‘possible impacts of communication towers on wildlife’,an expert committee appointed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests had recommended,among others,that to prevent overlapping high radiations fields,new towers should not be permitted within a radius of one km of existing towers. Further,of the 919 research papers (on impact of EMF) they had analysed for the study,593 said there’s an impact,130 said there is no impact and findings of 196 were neutral/inconclusive. So,there is an impact. It is only cellular operators and their associated people who claim that there are no health problems,” said Kumar.

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