· Petition to Honourable Prime Minister of India
The petition of the undersigned, citizens of India, to Honourable Prime minister of India states that:
Whereas on May 31, 2011 World Health Organization (WHO) has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as a class 2B, a possible human carcinogen and called for further investigation and there are concerns in Indian public about cell towers which transmit the radio frequency electromagnetic fields being in close proximity to thickly populated areas, the absence of a single point regulatory body to provide information to citizens on cell tower installations in their localities, their compliance to fire, legal and other local norms, the number of antenna installed in those towers and the power emitted by them.
Whereas Unlike many European countries, India faces unique challenges due to high population density in urban areas and multiple service providers in each of the service areas, this issue requires more scientific investigation and solutions to be developed which are acceptable to all stakeholders. Meanwhile, there are concerns and local protests from concerned citizens located next to cell towers demanding the removal of towers/ re-locating them. Such an approach may not help as the network connectivity and operations will be adversely impacted by removal of such cell towers. The telecom technology has helped to transform lives of millions of people in India (especially rural areas which had little connectivity before) and the telecom sector has been key component of India’s GDP growth in past decade. So, we need to find solutions for safe use of this technology which is practical and feasible for all stakeholders rather than demanding arbitrary removal to towers.
Therefore, we the citizens of India request that the government
A. Create a regulatory body to map the location details of existing/ proposed cell towers, their operational details (like number of antenna, power transmitted by the antenna etc.) and make such information easily accessible to all citizens and to address concerns from citizens in a fair and systemic approach, rather than making the citizens to approach multiple government departments/ functions. This regulatory body should have mechanism to seek and obtain inputs and views from general public and telecom operators. This regulatory body should also have powers on guideline setting, monitoring and enforcing the radiation levels.
B. Scientific studies should be carried out to determine if there is any long term health effects due to cell tower radiation in India.
C. As a precautionary measure , create a policy framework to avoid unscientific proliferation of towers, especially near thickly populated areas. Also, provide and enforce guidelines to avoid locating cell towers within close proximity of schools and hospitals and near thickly populated areas.
D. Where towers are located very close to densely populated areas explore the possibility of relocating the towers or reduce the power transmitted. Since reduction of power might require additional towers to be installed to ensure signal coverage, this might involve additional investment cost for service providers and hence, suitable relief measures (like tax breaks/ other mechanism) be provided by government so the service providers are able to recover these additional costs.