An awareness programme on Electromagnetic Field Emissions and Mobile Towers

Bengaluru, 6thMarch, 2017: An awareness programme was organized by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Min. of Communications on Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Emissions and Mobile Towers. This is part of a nationwide public outreach campaign to dispel myths about EMF Emissions and quell unfounded fears of citizens through scientific evidence. Shri. Anil Kumar V. Wagh, Director, TERM Karnataka delivered the welcome speech and highlighting the importance of mobile connectivity across the state and emphasizing on the need of cultivating a scientific temper and deepening collaboration between the public, Government and industry for growth and progress of Bengaluru.

Expert Panel for the EMF Awareness Session in JP Nagar Bengaluru
 Expert Panel for the EMF Awareness Session in JP Nagar Bengaluru

Testing in progress by TERM Cell
Testing in progress by TERM Cell

Shri Kantharaj, Assistant Commissioner of Police, South Division, Bengaluru City, Shri. S.R.N. Prasad, Deputy Director General, TERM, Bengaluru, Shri. M. A. Khan, Deputy Director General, TERM Karnataka & Dr. Madhu Y C, Senior Surgical Oncologist graced the occasion. Representatives of civil society and representatives of Residents Welfare Associations of Bangalore south were invited. An expert panel comprising of telecom officers and the doctor presented the scientific facts clarifying various myths on possible health hazards from mobile tower radiation.

Delivering the technical address Shri. Surendran. V, Director, TERM, Bengaluru said, that such an initiative was necessitated due to the increasing resistance faced by the Telecom Service Providers for erecting towers for improving quality of service in response to customers demand. Detailing various technical aspects and regulatory precautions taken by the government, it was pointed out by him that the resistance is due to perceived ill effects and not based on facts. It was further pointed out by him that the towers are safe and state of Karnataka requires more towers for meeting the expectations of the customers.

Dr. Madhu YC, Surgical Oncologist, during his presentation referred to various research works undertaken Globally, including the ones done by premier institutions like AIIMS in India.  He pointed that to date there is no evidence to conclude that exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields is harmful to human health and quite often, the problems faced by the public are due to perception, fear of unknown and hear say.

During the discussion, it was pointed out that DoT has already prescribed strict precautionary norms for exposure limit for the Radio Frequency Field (Base Station Emissions) which is ten times more stringent than the existing limits prescribed by ICNIRP and recommended by WHO. Shri. S.R.N. Prasad, Deputy Director General, TERM, Bengaluru said, “Our EMF norms are much stricter than what is followed by many developed nations. Further, the Government of India has taken adequate steps to ensure that Telecommunications Service Providers strictly adhere to these prescribed norms”,

Shri. SRN Prasad, DDG TERM, Bengaluru also pointed out that TERM Cells conducts physical audit of 10% of the sites every year and such tests are done without any prior intimation to Service Providers to ensure correct assessment of compliance status. Out of 50000 Base stations available across 11000 sites in Bangalore Urban and Rural districts and Ramanagara, 15000 base stations in more than 8000 sites have been tested so far.

Shri. M. A. Khan, Deputy Director General, TERM Karnataka added: “Strict monitoring and enforcement mechanism has been put in place by the DoT for EMF-related compliances. In case any BTS site is found to violate prescribed EMF norms, actions are taken to put a penalty of Rs. 10 lakh per BTS per incidence, including closing of BTS site in case violation persists.”

The first session concluded with an interactive Q&A session between senior government officials of Bengaluru, participants from civil society and RWAs. In the next session actual site, testing was carried out to measure electromagnetic frequency (EMF) emissions from mobile towers in JP Nagar, Bengaluru. It was found that the mobile towers in Bengaluru were transmitting well within permissible limits and, in fact, in most cases much lower than the prescribed limits in India. The testing was conducted for BTS at No.54,15th Cross,100 ft. Rd, JP Nagar II Phase and the results were shared with the people present at the sites, stating that all towers are safe, substantiated by the low levels of radiation that showed up in the tests.

About the Department of Telecommunication (DoT)

The Department of Telecommunications, abbreviated as DoT, is part of the Ministry of Communications of the executive branch of the Government of India. Its mission is to develop a robust and secure state-of-the-art telecommunication network providing seamless coverage with special focus on rural and remote areas for bridging the digital divide and thereby facilitate socio- economic development; create an inclusive knowledge society through proliferation of affordable and high quality broadband services across the nation; reposition the mobile device as an instrument of socio-economic empowerment of  citizens; make India a global hub for telecom equipment manufacturing; promote development of new standards to meet national requirements; attract investment, both domestic and foreign and promote creation of jobs