Awareness programme on Electromagnetic Field Emissions and Mobile Towers
Bengaluru, 18th March, 2017: An awareness programme was organized by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Min. of Communications on Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Emissions and Mobile Towers. This is part of a nationwide public outreach campaign to dispel myths about EMF Emissions and quell unfounded fears of citizens through scientific evidence. Shri. Ravi Hiremath, Divisional Engineer TERM Cell Karnataka delivered the welcome speech and highlighting the importance of mobile connectivity across the state and emphasizing on the need of cultivating a scientific temper and deepening collaboration between the public, Government and industry for growth and progress of Bengaluru.
Shri. S.R.N. Prasad, Deputy Director General, TERM, Bengaluru, Shri. Surendran V Director, , TERM Cell Bangalore & Dr. Madhu Y C, Senior Surgical Oncologist graced the occasion. Representatives of civil society and representatives of Residents Welfare Associations of Bangalore North - West were invited. An expert panel comprising of telecom officers and the doctor presented the scientific facts clarifying various myths on possible health hazards from mobile tower radiation.
Delivering address on Mobile phones and EMF emissions, Shri S R N Prasad Deputy Director General TERM Cell Bangalore said that Mobile phones have become integral part of common man’s life. Sighting world bank studies he pointed out the positive impact of growth of broadband on any country’s GDP. He also sighted various court judgements setting aside the apprehensions of the petitioners including that of Hon’ble High Court of Delhi judgement dated26.04.2016 stating that “……it is clear that there is no scientific data available to show that installation of mobile phone towers and the emission of the waves by the said towers is in any way harmful for the health or hazardous to the health of citizens. There is no conclusive data to the said effect.”
Speaking on technical / regulatory aspects Shri. Surendran. V, Director, TERM, Bengaluru said, “The spectrum used for Mobile communication is non-ionizing and is as safe as emissions from Radio / TV or even sunlight”. It was further pointed out by him that the strong and fool proof regulatory mechanism ensures that the towers are safe and state of Karnataka requires more towers for meeting the expectations of the customers.
Dr. Madhu YC, Surgical Oncologist, during his presentation referred to various research works undertaken Globally, including the ones done by premier institutions like AIIMS in India. He pointed that to date there is no evidence to conclude that exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields is harmful to human health. However, quite often, the public are carried away by perception, fear of unknown and hear say. Problems are experienced by them due to Psychological issues like NOCEBO effect and not due to radiation.
During the discussion, it was pointed out that DoT has already prescribed strict precautionary norms for exposure limit for the Radio Frequency Field (Base Station Emissions) which is ten times more stringent than the existing limits prescribed by ICNIRP and recommended by WHO. It was further pointed out that TERM Cells conducts physical audit of 10% of the sites every year and such tests are done without any prior intimation to Service Providers to ensure correct assessment of compliance status. Out of 50000 Base stations available across 11000 sites in Bangalore Urban and Rural districts and Ramanagara, 15000 base stations in more than 8000 sites have been tested so far.
Shri. Surendran V, Director TERM CellBangalore added: “Strictmonitoring and enforcement mechanism has been put in place by the DoT forEMF-related compliances. In case any BTS site is found to violateprescribed EMF norms, actions are taken to put a penalty of Rs. 10 lakh per BTSper incidence, including closing of BTS site in case violation persists.”
Shri. S.R.N. Prasad, Deputy DirectorGeneral, TERM, Bengaluru requested the Local bodies / Municipal corporations to permittower infrastructure as per DoT’s guidelines and urged RWAs to come forward fortower installations and become part of India’s growth story”.
The first session concluded with aninteractive Q&A session between senior government officials of Bengaluru,participants from civil society and RWAs. In the next session actual site,testing was carried out to measure electromagnetic frequency (EMF) emissionsfrom mobile towers in Mysore Sandal Soap factory, Near Yeshawanthpur MetroStation, Bengaluru and the results were shared with the people present at thesites, stating that all towers are safe, substantiated by the low levels ofradiation that showed up in the tests. The participants were further informedthat the mobile towers in Bengaluru were transmitting well within permissiblelimits and, in fact, in most cases much lower than the prescribed limits inIndia.