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India telcos comply with new radiation rules

Mobile operators say they were proactive in meeting the tighter regulations over radiation emission levels from signal towers that will kick in next month.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor on

Mobile operators in India said they have taken proactive steps to comply with the new rules of reduced radiation emission from their towers, before it takes effect Sep. 1.

In a report by The Hindu Business Line Tuesday, Rajan S. Mathews, director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said companies had already made major changes to their network infrastructure to meet the stricter requirements.

The new regulation is being implemented by India's Department of Telecommunications (DoT), which in April announced that radiation emitted from mobile phone towers should be reduced to one-tenth of existing levels. This means the current permissible radiation levels of 4,500 milliwatts per square meter will be lowered to 450 milliwatts per square meter come September.

Matthews said the telecom industry had "gone the extra mile to ensure compliance", even though there has been no scientific evidence of any health benefit from the proposed new norms. Reducing the radiation emissions to meet new ruling was not easy, given the India's scarce spectrum resources, population density and traffic in India, he added.

COAI said it will address public concerns regarding the health effects of electromagnetic field (EMF) emissions from mobile towers, and ensure that citizens are informed of scientific facts on the matter and that their safety is prioritized by the industry.

The telecom industry previously asked the government to put off the new norms, saying it would impact the quality of service because the number of cell sites had to be reduced in order to comply with the new permitted levels, the Hindu Business Line said.

Last month, the Delhi High Court sought a response from the city and central governments over radiation concerns from high-frequency mobile phone towers installed in residential areas. An Indian citizen had petitioned to ban installing mobile phone towers within 50 meters of schools, hospitals and residential localities, and claimed that his son died of cancer caused by radiation from a mobile tower on the roof of his house.

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