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State lax in executing mobile tower norms, says expert

Ignatius Pereira
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DoT has issued safety guidelines; West Bengal, Delhi have implemented them

The State government is yet to implement the guidelines issued by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for installation of mobile phone towers, according to Sainudeen Pattazhy, member of the Committee to Study the Possible Impact of Mobile Towers on Birds and Bees, constituted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Dr. Pattazhy told The Hindu that DoT had issued the guidelines a couple of months ago, in the interests of environmental protection.

Based on a study

He said that the governments of West Bengal and Delhi had already implemented the guidelines issued under the Environment Protection Act 1986.

The DoT had issued the guidelines on the basis of a study conducted by Dr. Pattazhy about the impact of the towers on living things.

Far from schools

Under the guidelines, installation of such towers near schools and hospitals should be avoided because children and patients are highly susceptible to electromagnetic radiation emitted by the towers.

Towers should be erected at least 100 metres away from such institutions and residential buildings.

Radiation

As per the guidelines a warning sign on radio frequency (RF) radiation should be installed at the base of the towers. The public should be denied access to the tower sites.

Dr. Pattazhy said that in Kerala no service provider was following these rules. So, strict regulations had to be enforced.

No diesel generators

The West Bengal government permits local body authorities to install mobile towers if they follow the guidelines. Diesel generators are not allowed to be installed along with new mobile towers in that State.

Instead, battery or solar-power back-up system is used. In the case of towers where diesel generators have been installed, they should be substituted with battery of solar power at the earliest.


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