THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: At a time when there is a big hue and cry over setting up of mobile towers in crowded residential areas of the city, here’s news that may help soothe some frayed nerves.
According to V Raghunandan ITS, Deputy Director General, Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cell, Kerala, electromagnetic emission from mobile towers do not affect human health.
Raghunandan said this at an awareness session conducted for the councillors and office-bearers of various residents’ associations of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation.
The session initiated by TERM Cell Kerala, the Vigilance and Monitoring Wing of the Department of Telecommunications, was held in the presence of Thiruvananthapuram District Collector S Venkatesapathy, Additional District Magistrate John Samuel and TERM Cell Kerala Director, T Sreenivasan ITS.
According to Raghunandan, Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has since 2008 been monitoring global developments and has already taken necessary steps and adopted stricter norms for safety from electromagnetic radiation emitted from mobile towers and mobile handsets.
Based on the recommendations by Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC), these norms for exposure limit for the Radio Frequency Field (Base Station Emissions) have been further made stringent and reduced to 1/10th of the existing limits prescribed by International Commission on Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
“There is a public concern over possible health effects from Electromagnetic Field Radiation (EMR) exposure from diverse raditaiton sources especially Mobile BTS antennae and mobile. In this regard, several studies have been conducted in different countries, under the aegis of World Health Organization (WHO),” Raghunandan said.
WHO has referred to approximately 25,000 articles published around the world over the past 30 years, and based on an in-depth review of scientific literature, has concluded that current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low level electromagnetic field, he added.
In 2014, these limits were reviewed and found adequate by a committee constituted by Allahabad High Court comprising members of IITs Kharagpur, Kanpur, Delhi, Roorkee, Bombay and from other scientific institutions including Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Indian Institute of Toxicology Research Lucknow, and All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) Delhi.
“DoT enforces that we follow stricter norms and therefore ensures all BTS should be within safe-limits and certification to this effect is submitted to TERM Cells, BTS sites against which there are public complaints are also tested by TERM Cell based on the procedures prescribed by Telecom Engineering Centers. In case any BTS is found to violate this prescribed EMF norms, they are liable to pay a penalty of Rs.10 lakhs per BTS per incidence including closing of BTS if violation persists,” Raghunandan added.
In Kerala, TERM and DoT have tested more than 15,000 BTS in different areas with high population density and found that the EMF exposure to general public was well within the DoT limits. In Thiruvananthapuram district, out of 6213 BTS, 1927 BTS (in areas of high population density) have been tested till date and all of them are found to be well within the DoT specified limits.
He also said that DoT is launching a National EMF portal soon, where all queries and concerns will be cleared state wise. He also informed that every district in Kerala operates a District Telecom Committee (DTC) and anybody who has concerns regarding EMF and mobile towers could approach the Committee.