The National Green Tribunal has ordered that construction of mobile phone towers should be carried out only after following mandatory provisions of law and after obtaining necessary permissions.
NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal has ordered that construction of mobile phone towers should be carried out only after following mandatory provisions of law and after obtaining necessary permissions.
The order came in a petition filed before the green court claiming that mobile phone towers were coming up in disregard of government regulations which are meant to protect human health from electromagnetic radiation.
The tribunal issued notices to seven telephone companies and the central government seeking their replies.
The two-judge bench comprising chairperson Justice A S Naidu and expert member P C Mishra said, “Considering the gravity of the allegations leveled and the health hazard likely to be caused, we direct that no construction of cell phone communication towers shall be made without following the mandatory provisions of law and without obtaining necessary permission from the competent authority.”
Bharti Infratel Ltd, Airtel , Idea, Vodafone, Tata, Reliance and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd have been asked to reply by the next date of hearing on December 20.
The appellant, Delhi resident Arvind Gupta, alleged that the government was not implementing its own guidelines regulating installation of mobile phone towers in the country.
Gupta said 3, 76,000 mobile phone towers dotted the country as of March 2012 and this was expected to increase to 420,000 by the end of March 2017.
He claimed that WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had classified electromagnetic fields from mobile phones and other sources as “possibly carcinogenic to human” and advised the public to adopt safety measures to reduce exposure.
He claimed that though Department of Telecom began testing telecommunications towers for their radiation levels since May 2010, the norms were “being flouted brazenly by all companies involved with installation of mobile towers having compete disregard and concern for environmental protection”.
Gupta said an inter-ministerial committee had examined the issue in 2010 based on international norms and recommended lowering the mobile towers’ electromagnetic field exposure limits to 1/10th of the existing prescribed limit as a matter of abundant precaution.
Following up, DoT had cleared a new set of guidelines and directions on these were issued to mobile phone operators in April 2012 making the new norms applicable from September 2012. Gupta claimed the phone companies have not done so.