Penalty has been doubled to Rs. 10 lakh per site per telecom operator

With a view to providing a stronger deterrent to telecom service providers violating cell tower radiation limits, a panel formed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has recommended doubling the penalty for such service providers to Rs. 10 lakh per site.

 The recommendation to double the penalty from Rs. 5 lakh per site per operator for non-compliant cases to EMF radiation limit takes into consideration the instructions of Communication and IT Minister Kapil Sibal, according to an official note accessed by The Hindu.

 The committee added that recommendations have been made “in view of the health of general public being involved and to have a stronger deterrent against any laxity on part of the telecom service providers …”  

In September last, the government had lowered the permissible radiation limit for mobile towers to 0.45 watts per sq metre, which is one-tenth of the ICNIRP guidelines, for Indian operators.

 The committee that was formed to formulate changes in the penalty structure for incomplete or delayed submission of EMF (electro magnetic field) radiation levels, however, has also proposed easing the penalty for non-submission or delayed submission of documents certifying EMF radiation levels of their towers.

 It has been suggested that the penalty to be slashed to Rs. 5,000 for a 15-day delay; Rs. 20,000 for delays beyond 15 to 30 days; and Rs. 50,000 if such delays exceed 30 days.  "The present penalty of Rs. 5 lakh in cases of delayed or non-submission of documents appears to be too harsh and disproportionate to the level of lapse/laxity,” the committee said.

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