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Activists seek mobile tower

At a recent meeting,corporator from Raviwar Peth Sunanda Gadale raised the issue of removal of mobile phone towers from the vicinity of schools and hospitals.

Written by Express News Service | Pune |
July 9, 2013 3:07:38 am

At a recent meeting,corporator from Raviwar Peth Sunanda Gadale raised the issue of removal of mobile phone towers from the vicinity of schools and hospitals. The meeting not only highlighted the issue of radiation hazards from mobile phone towers,but also threw some light on the lack of adequate mechanism to deal with it.

In Pune,there were varying replies on the number of towers in the city,says Gadale. “We were told by the Pune Municipal Corporation that there were 1,040 mobile phone towers out of which 329 were illegal. According to MSEDCL,there are 4,777 mobile towers while we learnt from the police that there are 6,700 towers,” Gadale told Newsline. City-based activist Vivek Velankar,ELA foundation trustee Dr Satish Pande and others have now come together and have asked the civic body to present data of the action taken within two months.

Last year,Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had announced that radiation from mobile phone towers would be reduced to 1/10th of the present level.

In 2009,India adopted the radiation norms specified by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection-ICNIRP. The norms are outdated now as they were only intended to protect people against short-term gross heating effects and not ‘biological’ effects such as cancers and genetic damage from long-term exposure. According to the new rules,the minimum distance of a tower (with two antenna) should be 35 m from a residential building. There are over 7 lakh mobile phone towers throughout the country,Sibal had said and warned that non-compliance of these standards will result in a penalty of Rs 5 lakh per tower.

Dr Satish Pande said non-ionizing radiation emission should be within permissible limits. Pande,however,clarified that there were no proven carcinogenic or genetic effects and at best the biological effects is local hypothermia,rashes.

World Health Organisation (WHO) has prescribed norms on emission of radiation by Telecom Towers. In India,there are no such warnings despite the fact that we adopted radiation norms specified by ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) guidelines of 1998. DoT has said that signages have to be exhibited on mobile towers explaining the amount of radiation emission.

Velankar said,experts have written to PMC on issuing permissions for setting up mobile towers to provide them data on whether structural stability certificates were issued and whether informed consent was taken from the residents of the buildings where the mobile towers were set up. The new development plan also has certain DC rules,Velankar said adding that stringent norms need to be in place before illegal mobile towers are regularised.

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