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Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Communications
21-December-2010 17:13 IST
Adherence to Radiation Norms Must for Mobile Towers
Violators to Pay Rs. Five Lakhs as Penalty: Sachin Pilot
Over 4.16 lakhs (4,16,061) Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) of over 5.60 lakhs (5,60,571) have so far been self certified for adherence to the standards prescribed by International Commission for non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). Of these, 4,01,470 self certificates had been submitted to the Telecom Engineering and Resource Monitoring (TERM) Cells of the Department of Telecommunications by November 15, 2010, the extended deadline set by the Ministry of Communications and IT.

All BTSs which have not been certified by November 15, 2010 or are not compliant face a penalty of Rs. 5 lakhs each. Shri Sachin Pilot, the Union Minister of State for Communications and IT, observed that Telecom companies and infrastructure companies - which own passive telecom infrastructure - have an obligation in meeting the statutory requirement after being partners with the Government in accepting and adopting the norms prescribed. Even though there is no direct evidence of negative health-related implication of these radiations, the Government is seized of the concerns raised in this regard and as such made self-certification a basic minimum requirement that Telecom Companies must adhere to.

As the number of mobile towers has grown exponentially in the country to handle mobile traffic resulting from increased teledensity, there have been some concerns raised by media, civil society, research organizations, and Members of Parliament on possible health related effects of electromagnetic emissions from mobile towers. There are a total of 5,60,571 Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) mounted on mobile towers for mobile communications in India. To ensure that electromagnetic emissions from these BTSs adhere to the standards adopted by India, which are based on the international standards prescribed by the ICNIRP, necessary amendments were carried out in the Access Service Licenses on November 04, 2008. The Industry was required to self-certify each of their BTSs by May 15, 2010, and submit the same to TERM Cells. On the request of the Industry, the deadline was, however, extended to November 15, 2010.

The Guidelines adopted by India are based on recommendations of ICNIRP and endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Some countries like Australia, China and some countries of the European Union, however, have adopted much more stringent standards.

Shri Sachin Pilot had earlier called a meeting of the operators and emphasized that self-certification should be completed by November 15, 2010. Beyond this random testing of emission levels would be done across the country, the Minister had said.

SP/AS