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Indian tribunal issues notice against mobile towers

The country's National Green Tribunal calls for restriction of telcos from setting up new towers without necessary permission, following allegations of health hazards.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

India's National Green Tribunal (NGT) has requested the central government not to allow telcos to install new mobile towers unless they received the necessary approval and met the legal requirements.

This follows a plea from a Delhi resident that the towers posed health hazards and were being installed without following proper guidelines, according to the Business Standard on Thursday.

In his application, Delhi resident Arvind Gupta noted with the growth of the telecom sector, the 376,000 mobile towers existed at the end of Mar. 2012 would increase to 420,000 by the end of 2017.

Radiation emitted by the towers will not only adversely affect flora and fauna, but can also cause cancer to human beings, Gupta said.

In September, rules were tightened requiring telcos to reduce their radiation emission levels from signal towers. This followed a petition by an Indian resident to ban installing mobile phone towers within 50 meters of schools, hospitals and residential localities, after his son reportedly died of cancer caused by radiation from a mobile tower on the roof of his house.

The NGT has also sought the response of India's Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Ministry of Communications and IT, Ministry of Health, Securities and Exchange Board of India and telecom firms Bharti Infratel, Airtel, Idea, Vodafone, Tata, Reliance and Bharat Sanchar Nigam, by Dec. 20--the next date of hearing.

The National Green Tribunal was set up in 2010 under India's National Green Tribunal Act to handles cases related to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.

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