Keeping in mind the growing public concern over health effects of radiation emitted from mobile phone towers, the union ministry of communication and information technology has decided to involve state government and civic body for stringent implementation of the existing radiation norms.
“The new guidelines, which are 10 times more stringent than the existing ones, will be enforced from September 1,” said Milind Deora, Union minister of state for communications and IT. “As far as implementation is concerned, we need to get state governments and municipalities on board and increase capacity of TERM cells, especially in terms of manpower. We are exploring interim solutions until TERM gets adequate capacity.”
The ministry is working on forming model guidelines for state government, municipalities and panchayats to follow, added Deora.
Currently, the Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cells set up by Department of Telecommunications are responsible for checking radiation level emitted by cell towers. However, the Mumbai TERM cell is hamstrung by a severe staff-crunch and is unable to conduct sample checks or attend to complaints.
As reported in HT's July 15 edition, it is common for people living close to mobile towers to experience side-effects of radiation. Following a series of reports published in HT in July, several readers registered complaints with the Mumbai TERM cell. However, till Sunday, they hadn't received any response.
“The Mumbai TERM cell took over 12 days to acknowledge receipt of my complaint. But it hasn’t mentioned anything about a visit to conduct tests. It should at least inform us how long it will take to conduct the test,” said Thane resident Ritam Dhara.
Monisha Biswas, head of the TERM cell in Mumbai, refused to comment. She refused to divulge details about the number of complaints received by the office.