April 4, 2015 12:09:36 am
With citizens worried about the impact of electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from cellphone towers, Pune-based Agharkar Research Institute and 15 other institutes have been identified and approved by the Department of Science and Technology to conduct a research on the effects of EMF radiation on human health.
While funds allocated to each institute varies from over Rs 22 lakh to over Rs 2.53 crore, the duration of the projects ranges from 18 months to 36 months, reveals information obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by a New Delhi-based resident. This is the first time that such a massive India-centric research, spanning across the country, has been initiated on the subject.
Last year, a report submitted by a 13-member committee constituted by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), based on an Allahabad High Court order dated January 10, 2012, had said there was no cause for alarm with regard to the possible ill-effects on human health by EMF radiation from cellphone towers and cellphones because the limits adopted in India account for all biological effects of radiation. The report had further said that the limits set by India are much lower than the internationally adopted recommendations of the International Commission on Non Ionising Radiation Protection, which account for thermal and non-thermal effects.
Several resident from across Mumbai, who have been advocating for safer norms with respect to cellphone towers for the last several years, had then rubbished the report, saying it was an eyewash and without any scientific basis. Former minister of state for communications and IT and shipping Milind Deora had, however, also formed a group to do a purely India-centric study.
Some of the other top institutes approved to conduct the studies include AIIMS (New Delhi), National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS-Bangalore), IIT Kharagpur and IIT Madras, Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS, Tirupathi, Andhra Pradesh), and Thiagarajar College of Engineering (Madurai). The protocol adopted in these studies would vary with research problems addressed and will be “in conformity with global protocols”, says the RTI reply.
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