Union minister open to reducing cell tower radiation
Somit Sen TNN
Mumbai: Union minister of state for communications Milind Deora said he was “open” to reducing radiation density for cell towers in the city. The response has come close on the heels of several citizens and activists demanding that radiation levels in Mumbai should be “lowered”.
Speaking to TOI, Deora said, “We had adopted the international norms on radiation in 2008 and lowered it by one-tenth last year.” The previous radiation density was 4500 milliwatts per sq m which was brought down to 450 milliwatts per sq m. But activists point out that even this is four to five times higher than what is followed in countries like France, Russia, Belgium and Austria.
Deora said the Indian Council of Medical Research is conducting a study on harmful effects of radiation on humans, birds and other species. “We are keeping an open mind and I will not hesitate from lowering the electromagnetic frequency limits, if needed,” he said.
Activist Prakash R Munshi, who is spearheading a campaign for citizens’ safety from cellphone tower radiation, said, “There is no change in the radiation levels despite claims by cellphone operators. The ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) norms, considered the standard international norms, may have been reduced by the Union ministry to 10% of earlier levels. But the levels have not gone down in many areas.”
Munshi said he is taking up the issue with the BMC, Union ministry and Department of Telecommunications. Professor Girish Kumar of IIT Bombay said the radiation risk depended on the proximity to the towers. “If one tower has several antennae, there is a higher risk of radiation. The need is to have more low power transmitting towers,” he said.
A spokesperson of Cellular Operators’ Association of India said, “Every cancer is not related to radiation. There is no need to panic.”
RADIATION NORMS BMC POLICY ON CELLPHONE TOWERS
Only one tower should be allowed on a building
Written consent of 70% of occupants and everyone on the building’s top floor is mandatory
Ban on towers in schools, colleges, hospitals, child rehabilitation centres and old age homes
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It can lead to seizures, paralysis, miscarriages, irreversible infertility and cancer