Delhi

Govt sends a message

The State technical committee will also carry out an audit of electromagnetic radiation across Delhi.— File Photo

The State technical committee will also carry out an audit of electromagnetic radiation across Delhi.— File Photo

obile tower operators may end up footing the bill for the medical treatment of cancer patients as the Delhi Government is planning on introducing a hazard exposure insurance fund.

The government is planning on setting up State and district level committees to handle public grievances, which is as per a guideline issued by the Union Ministry of Communication and IT in November 2014.

In addition, the committees will grant licences for towers and run a compensation cell for seriously ill patients in the vicinity of towers. The granting of licenses may lead to a tussle with the municipal corporations, which have been issuing licences to operators so far.

Bijwasan MLA Col. (retd.) Devinder Sehrawat, who drafted the policy, said the document would be implemented as a government order or introduced in the Assembly as a Bill.

“We want cell phones to work efficiently and are not against operators. But there are doubts about the level of radiation and the possible harmful effects. Tobacco companies claimed till 1994 that there was no link between smoking cigarettes and cancer,” said Col. Sehrawat.

The World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Cancer Research had found exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, including from wireless communication devices, “possibly carcinogenic” in 2011.

Though there have been cases of cancer in the vicinity of towers, there is no scientific consensus on whether the radiation was to blame. Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri, who has also worked on the issue, said the government was not questioning existing guidelines by the WHO and the Supreme Court.

“But, we have a doubt that mobile tower operators are not following the rules when it comes to radiation levels, and air and noise pollution caused by the generators,” said Mr. Shastri.

As per the draft, the State Technical Committee will establish policies and ensure compliance with safety norms. The committee will also carry out an audit of electromagnetic radiation across Delhi.

“This will enable us to locate blank spots that need more towers and find areas that have too much radiation where the number of towers is too much,” said Col. Sehrawat.

The committee will also issue guidelines on space and premises permitted for installing towers in each district based on the radiation audit.

The District Technical Committees will work as nodal centres for giving permission for mobile towers, and interact with RWAs to select and shortlist sites. This will give operators a single window for clearance,” said Col. Sehrawat.

Residents of a district can approach the committee if they have a grievance related to illness attributable to the tower in their area. The committee will coordinate a compensation cell for seriously ill patients.

We want cell phones to work efficiently and are not against operators, but there are doubts about radiation level and possible harmful effects


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Printable version | May 18, 2022 4:57:31 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/govt-sends-a-message/article7570816.ece