Monday, January 7, 2013

MUMBAI: Data of radiation checks being conducted by the government following citizens' complaints suggest that nearly 70% complaints were prima facie false. If so many radiation complaints are false, why the fuss, ask experts, who also question the genuineness of the checks. They say such checks do not involve them as well as citizens but only officials attached to government agencies.
Achintya Mukherjee of the Bombay Telephone Users' Association said there should be more involvement of experts and citizens in committees or teams monitoring radiation levels. "The controversy is about wattage of antennae. If the teams involve experts and activists, they will not only be able to establish the genuineness of the exercise but will restore confidence among citizens who are already scared about the towers," he said.
IIT professor Girish Kumar said initially very few cell towers of the over 200 checked were found violating the 450 milliwatt per square radiation level. "But this limit itself is wrong as internationally antennae are not allowed to cross the level of minimum 1 to maximum 10 milliwatts.
DoT advisor (technology) R K Bhatnagar said the Government of India's highprofile telecommunication research arm, Telecommunication Consultants India Ltd (TCIL), was conducting checks as per citizens' complaints. "They do not involve any operator in the checks and randomly conduct a drive to catch towers and companies unawares. TCIL has dedicated experts and researchers who have no vested interests and till the time DoT acquires its own checking equipment, TCIL is the best institution for the job," he pointed out.
COAI director-general Rajan Mathew said experts from internationally reputed agencies are involved in tower building, testing and installation. "The radiation measuring equipment is being bought but at present TCIL, the government's own arm, is doing the work very diligently, sensitively and responsibly ," he said, pointing out that country had adopted the best radiation norms in the industry.
Dr K S Parthasarathy, former secretary, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, said minister of state for communications and information technology Milind Deora should publish results of measurements done so far. "Transparency is the best antidote against scare-mongering . A recent media report said radiation levels at 60 places were within DoT limits . Mumbaikars are not, after all, living in the equivalent of vast open-air microwave ovens as described," he said.
How to get your complaints addressed
Cell tower radiation complaints can be registered at in through the link 'Public grievance - EMF radiation' A DoT team will visit your society, for which 4,000 will be charged If radiation levels higher than the prescribed limit are detected, the company owning the tower will have to pay the fee and also a 5 lakh fine Citizens can also call 9969555000 to register complaints The complaint will be attended to within 10 days of payment of the fee There will be 5 monitoring units for city
Landline is preferable
Do not use a cellphone for more than six minutes a day Radiation from computers and laptops is less than that from cellphones The safest way to conduct long-distance communication is through a landline. To the fullest extent possible, forward calls received on your cellphone to your residential or office landlines
After receiving a call on or putting one through a cellphone, put the device on speakerphone mode and keep it at least a foot away from your body. Better use a headset Never press the handset against your face or head Limit the length of calls and prefer an SMS. Keep wi-fi off if not in use If you live in a highrise within a km of a TV tower or 500 metres of an FM tower, to absorb radiation, plant trees on the building's premises
What government has threatened 

Rectify radiation levels of noncompliant (over 200) antennae on 61 cell towers within 30 days If not, pay a fine of 5 lakh for each tower and they will be removed. If towers are found to be continuingly flouting norms, a process to cancel the company's licence can be started
Violations by cell phone operators in the city
As per government norms, no cell tower should radiate more than 450 milliwatt per square metre power But, in the city, over 200 antennae (61 cell towers with a minimum three to four antennae on each) belonging to almost all telecom companies (12 major operators in city) have been found crossing radiation levels 400 complaints have been received by DoT about cell towers in the country. Around 320 complainants have paid 4,000 to check each tower. Over 90% complaints are from the city Of the 320, radiation from 271 towers has been tested, of which 81 were found non-compliant with norms

Readers' opinions (11)

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Bandit Moorkhjee (NEW DELHI)
12 Dec, 2012 07:30 PM
Who are these ''experts''. One such ''expert'', often seen on TV campaigning against cell phones, is a Professor in a highly reputed academic institution. He gives outrageous statements that would scare the average person who does not have a scientific education. Fact of the matter is that the so-called ''radiation'' from cell phones and their towers is of the same kind that is used in AM and FM radio, TV, cordless telephones, internet devices like wi-fi, and so on. Almost any electrical appliance -- like your kitchen blender or refrigerator -- will also emit similar electromagnetic radiation. Therefore, the ''experts'' who are campaigning against cell phones should also ask the government to ban radio, TV, telephones, and all these home appliances. Another fact of the matter is that the daughter of the ''expert'' Professor I mentioned above has a company selling products claimed to protect people from the allegedly dangerous cell phone radiation.
Rawk Aron (Mumbai, Maharashtra)
12 Dec, 2012 05:28 PM
why should one pay to report a compliant and have it inspected? Isn't it the regulator's responsibility to ensure compliance? this is like having to pay the police for reporting a crime or accident in the neighborhood!
suresh190149 (mumbai)
12 Dec, 2012 05:06 PM
There seem to be a lot of controversy about the radiations of the Cell Tower. The awareness of radiation excites people to complain to the Authority and we have advises of various kinds for people to adhere. We would be better off with a hand held device that shows the radiation on the spot like a Speed monitor for Car speed on Highways used by the Police,which will monitor the radiation. We hope that work can be done on these lines to simplify the regulation of Radiation which has harmful effects for the human beings.
Dinesh Prabhakar (delhi)
12 Dec, 2012 04:34 PM
several people have died due to radiation worldwide from such towers, urgent action needed in this direction!
Venkat (Chennai)
12 Dec, 2012 04:26 PM
It;s serious issue. The authorities concerned to look into this issue & set right things in the interest of general public

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