Chittaranjan Tembhekar, TNN Aug 17, 2013, 02.21AM IST
MUMBAI: The department of telecommunications (DoT) recently shot off guidelines to state governments for removal or shifting of mobile phone towers over radiation and such concerns. All government and civic agencies must first consult Telecom Enforcement and Resource Monitoring (TERM) cells for approval. Each state has its own TERM cell under the DoT. These guidelines are effective from August 1.
Now, citizen activists, with or without help from state agencies or civic bodies, can no longer unilaterally shift, remove or seal a cellphone tower. They must first approach a TERM cell for clearance.All technical issues related to electro-magnetic radiation from cell towers or wireless frequency allocation of telecom services are dealt with by DoT and its field units called TERM cells. Hence, the state government may coordinate with or consult them whenever necessary," stated the guidelines.
IIT professor Girish Kumar, a radiation expert, slammed the guidelines and alleged they show up the government's indifference to the health hazards faced by those who live near cell towers. "Now with the addition of 3G and 4G services, the limit of radiation has been raised to 1,000 milliwatt per metre square for such operations instead of the 450 milliwatts per metre square for GSM 900. Thus, the overall radiation will increase drastically."
The guidelines also state that local bodies can seek a fresh no-objection certificate from a building society during renewal of the cell tower site contract. Also, the service provider must submit the certificate of safe radiation or installation to a TERM cell.
It will be mandatory for the state to supply power connections to cellphone towers on a priority basis. "The state government may set up state and district level telecom committees consisting of TERM cell officers, state's own officials, representatives of telecom service providers and eminent public personalities. The state along with DoT may organize public awareness programs, involving civil society members, over various issues related to cell towers," the advisory added.
For TERM cells, the guidelines make it compulsory to verify the orientation of antennae, other than just checking the radiation levels. "A safe distance is mandatory and the height of antennae from the ground should be a minimum of five metres."
The amended guidelines were put up on the DoT web site on August 8.