New Delhi: The department of telecommunications is planning to issue directions asking mobile companies to prominently display on the pack the level of radio frequency energy absorbed by the handset, minister of state for telecommunications and information technology Sachin Pilot said on Thursday. He added that the government is going to launch a nationwide crackdown on companies that have been flouting guidelines on electromagnetic emissions from mobile towers and failing to self-certify them. The firms will be fined Rs 5 lakh for each non-compliant base station.
“In my view, people buying phones have the right to know the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) level of a particular product… given the health hazards that some phones with high SAR levels can cause. We have asked all stakeholders—mobile manufacturers, citizen groups and NGOs—to give their response by February 25 and based on that we will issue directions for display of SAR level,” said Pilot. More than 90% of people do not know about SAR level. It is usually a part of the user manual, which in wrapped inside the packets or put on the website of the company.
Pilot said over one lakh Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) mounted on mobile towers have failed to self-certify as per standards prescribed by the International Commission for non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). “They failed to meet two deadlines for self-certification. Now, we are going to penalize them,” he said.
In a recent report, an inter-ministerial committeehas found that high SAR levels of a handset cause health hazards like loss of memory, lack of concentration, disturbance in the digestive system and sleep.
The committee suggested that the radiation limits need to be lowered to 1/10th of the existing level. The recommendations have been put on the DoT website for response from stakeholders, citizen groups and NGOs and a decision in this regard will be taken soon, Pilot said. The minister added that the department is strengthening Telecom Engineering and Resource Monitoring Cells (TERM) to ensure effective monitoring of mobile towers.