Monday, September 16, 2013

Cell towers:I-T panel drafting report

After taking suggestions from citizens and experts on radiation from mobile towers, the parliamentary standing committee on Information Technology (IT) has reached the drafting stage of a report that will implement safety standards for expansion of telecom facilities.
The report, once formulated and tabled in Parliament, will make recommendations to the current guidelines of the union Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for the installation of mobile towers in the country. The guidelines also set norms for radiation emitted from mobile tower sites, and prescribes distance parameters between antennae and residential buildings.
Pinning their hopes on the report and demanding reduced permissible limits for radiations, city activists made a representation to the committee members about two weeks ago.
The committee, which is chaired by MP Inderjit Singh Rao, has taken it upon itself to prepare a report on ‘Norms for setting up telecom towers, their harmful effects and the setting up of security standards in the expansion of telecom facilities’ in February. It invited suggestions from the public and called upon experts, professionals and representatives of organisations to present suggestions.
“We received a considerable number of ideas from people. The committee members are in the process of examining these and the report is in the drafting stage. Although there is no time-frame, the report could be presented to the house by either this or the next session of Parliament,” said Dr Sagarika Dash, deputy secretary of the committee. The findings and recommendations made in the report will be of an advisory in nature. Activists have said the maximum radio frequency limit in the existing guidelines should be brought down from the current 20 watts per antenna to 2 watts per site.
“There is no significant impact on radiation even after the DoT reduced electro magnetic frequency limits to 450milliwatts per sq m as only 5% of tower sites were found to be operating above the mark,” said Prakash Munshi, member of Indians for Safe Environment.

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