Technology and Approval Mechanism for Mobile Tower Installation in India

Electromagnetic Field Radiation or EMF radiation has long been associated with the risk of diseases such as cancer. Due to this myth of EMF radiation being harmful, there are many residential areas that are witnessing a rise in protests against installation of mobile towers. It is only natural that citizens are concerned about the risk to their health from these towers. However, they can rest assured that the government has taken adequate measures to ensure that the mobile towers that are installed are in strict compliance with guidelines in India.

India currently follows the International Commission for Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNRIP), a German independent body’s guidelines set for exposure to radiation. These measures are also recommended by WHO, which states that there is no evidence of EMF radiation being harmful to human health. It must be noted that India has adopted strict limits for radiation from Base Transreceiver Stations, which is 1/10th of the International norms (INCIRP). In fact, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is in the process of finalizing even tougher norms for radiation emitting from cell towers.

Additionally, citizens need not be concerned regarding any issues with respect to monitoring of mobile towers in India. Before installing mobile towers, a service provider has to obtain site clearance from the DoT’s Standing Advisory Committee on Frequency Allocation (SACFA) for the point of interference of wireless users, aviation hazards and obstruction to microwave links. As per the policy, service providers are expected to do a self-certification of radiation and EMF norms, which is then vetted by a special cell. The service provider is liable for penal action by this cell if the guidelines are violated. It could also lead to the service provider’s operations being shut down.

According to the Department of Telecom, all existing as well as new BTSs/Towers, Telecom Service Providers are required to submit self-certificates periodically in the format as prescribed by TEC, DoT, in order to ensure that normally all general public areas around the site are within the safe EMF exposure limits. Any violation will attract heavy penalties on the service provider and may also lead to shut down of BTS in case the violation persists.

The TERM cells have been given clear instructions with regard to the technical audit of BTS, including for radiation from towers within safe limits. DoT is organizing frequent workshops for these officers to ensure observance of the latest guidelines issued by DoT on the subject of EMF radiation and public safety.

It is evident, therefore, that not only is the radiation from mobile towers harmless to health, it is also closely monitored under guidelines by Department of Telecom. With the government taking effective steps to ensure the safety of its citizens by monitoring mobile tower installation, citizens have nothing to worry about.

Keywords: Mobile tower radiation in India, Tower radiation in India, EMF India, EMF radiation India

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