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Issue 26
, 2010
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Radiation test for mobile cos

Source: The Asian Age, Date: , 2010

In a move that could cause concern, the telecom department has given the mobile operators six more months to self-certify that radiation from their towers meet the prescribed limits.

There has been a concern in civil society as to whether the radiation emitted by the mobile towers are safe for people residing nearby.
Last year the government had asked all the mobile operators to conduct testing and self-certification of their mobile towers. They were asked to submit a declaration to the Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM), a cell of the telecom department, that radiation from their towers are within the internationally accepted permissible limit by May 15.
According to reports not even five per cent of the mobile towers in the country were tested. It is estimated that there are 2.5 lakh mobile towers in the country. The telecom operators have now been asked to give self-certification to the TERM by November 15.
However, consumer NGOs don’t think that self-certification is a good idea. “In India self-certification doesn’t work. We want that certification must be carried out by a third party. In India there are a number of testing facilities and they should be used,” said Consumer Care Society, secretary, Mr Ravindra Nath Guru.
He also raised the issue that in order to get better coverage the mobile companies may be increasing the radiation power of their towers beyond the allowed limits.
“If there is a complain by consumers that they are not getting network coverage, telecom companies could even increase the power of their radiation which could be harmful for the people,” he added.
The telecom department had also asked the mobile companies to start a new mobile tower only after its self-certificate has been submitted to TERM.
Additionally, mobile towers against which there are public complaints will be tested by TERM. If a site fails to meet the criteria, a penalty of Rs 5 lakh will be levied per tower per service provider. The service provider will be given a month to meet the radiation norms.