Courts Allay Fears Over Harm From Telecom Towers

Courts Allay Fears Over Harm From Telecom Towers
Health can't be cited as a reason anymore for denial of permission to set up telecom towers after recent court judgements but the authorities must hasten the process of approvals if call drops have to come down, a top stakeholder has said.

"With the judgements of the Delhi High Court, the municipal body can't say any more that they will not give permission to erect towers, citing health reasons," said Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators' Association of India.

"But it takes long time to get clearances to erect towers," Mathews told IANS, seeking redressal in this area as well.

"Of course, if more towers can be erected, it will help the operators to reduce call drops. In order to provide good 3G and 4G connections, more towers will be required, in any case."

In two recent judgements that went rather unnoticed, the Delhi High Court dismissed pleas that wanted directions to the authorities to prevent setting up of cellular towers, on the ground that radio frequency emissions from them were harmful.

"It is clear there is no scientific data available to show that installation of mobile phone towers and the emission of the waves by the said towers is in any way harmful for the health or hazardous to the health of citizens," they said.

"There is no conclusive data to the said effect. The petitioner has not been able to produce any data whatsoever showing any such harmful effects on the health of human beings," said both the judgements, dismissing the pleas.

In fact, both judges referred to past rulings by various Indian Courts, including the findings of the expert committee appointed under the orders of the Allahabad High Court to look into concerns of harmful radiation from low electromagnetic frequency from mobile towers.

The committee, comprising scientists and doctors, found that such objections are "complete misrepresentation of actual position and shall create only confusion, misperception and unfounded fear in the minds of general public, which should be avoided."

But what is of relevance is another verdict of the Allahabad High Court, which on April 12 rejected all apprehensions arising from mobile tower radiation.

It had said: "India's prescribed limits for radiation are already much lower than most of the countries in the world. Therefore, there is no need to further reduce the limits without conclusive studies by international standards bodies and India's own conclusive research and findings."

The Allahabad High Court also issued directions calling upon the Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring Cell (TERM Cell) to submit a report with regard to the possible ramifications of the installation of the mobile towers and the base transceiver station.

The TERM Cell carried out a site inspection of the locations and reported that the radiation level measured at the locations was far below the safe limit prescribed by the Department of Telecommunication.


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