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DoT doubles penalty on mobile towers flouting emission norms

New circular raises the amount from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh.

Written by Mihika Basu | Mumbai |
November 22, 2013 1:53:33 am

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has doubled the penalty on mobile towers that fail to adhere to emission norms.

In a circular dated November 20,the penalty on such towers has been increased from Rs 5 lakh currently to Rs 10 lakh.

“In case of non-compliance of actual EMF (electromagnetic field) radiation norms,a penalty of Rs 10 lakh per base transceiver stations (BTS) per incidence shall be imposed,” says the circular.

According to new DoT norms,which came into effect from September 2012,EMF radiation levels cannot exceed 450 milliwatt per square metre,down from the earlier 4,500 milliwatts per square metre. As per available data from the Ministry of Telecommunications and IT,400 complaints had been registered from Mumbai till March 2013. Further,300 complaints had been examined,leading to the discovery that 91 mobile phone base transmitting stations in Mumbai had exceeded the new electromagnetic radiation limit.

The DoT has listed several penalties in the latest circular,which did not exist earlier. In case of new BTS,delayed submission of self-certificate from the due date will attract heavy penalties,which will range from Rs 5,000 (delay of upto 15 days) and Rs 20,000 (delay beyond 15 days and upto 30 days) to Rs 50,000 (beyond 30 days and upto 60 days).

“In addition to imposition of penalty,the BTS will be shut down on expiry of 60 days from the due date of self-certification,if the self-certification is not submitted even within this period. Restoration of BTS site may be allowed on the request of the licensee on production of proof of penalty and a valid self-certification confirming compliance to the EMF norms,” says the circular.

Similar penalties have been imposed for existing BTSs. In case of all BTSs,except new ones commissioned during the cycle,the telecom service providers will have to submit the self-certificate within a window of two years,which is currently from April 1,2013,to March 31,2015. In case of delayed submission of self-certificates,Rs 5,000 will be imposed for delay of upto 30 days and will be increased to Rs 50,000 if the delay is beyond 60 days and upto 90 days.

According to an official from the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI),the new penalty structure was a good step towards “better control of towers and better adherence to norms” and will remove any existing ambiguities.

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