Gov depends on operator equipment to conduct radiation checks on them

Government of India does not have its own equipment to measure electromagnetic radiation from cellphone towers, Junior Minister Milind Deora has told the Parliament.

According to the minister’s statement, the government depends on the equipment provided by telecom operators to measure the level of radiation emitted by their towers.

“.. The test tools provided by the Telecom Service Providers as of now,” Deora said in reply to a question by Rajya Sabha member Kiranmay Nanda.

The question was asked in the context of a recent claim by the government that it had found 102 mobile towers to be in violation of existing electromagnetic radiation norms.

The government is cracking down on excess radiation emission by cellphone towers after a report by an in-house panel urged it to exercise caution in the matter. Unlike many countries, India regularly has cellphone towers and masts hoisted on apartment complexes and close to schools etc., exposing people to high levels of cellphone radiation 24 hours a day.

Though cellphone radiation, also called electromagnetic or microwave radiation, is not considered to be cancer-causing, many scientists believe that caution should be exercised in this matter.

Indian telecom operators have also been reported to be using high-power equipment in a bid to cut costs.

The latest revelation by the government may call into question the effectiveness of the monitoring carried out by its Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cells, as the officers have to depend on the operator for monitoring equipment.

Deora said that the Department of Telecom is in the process of procuring radiation measurement devices.

“The DoT is in the process of procuring instrument to measure the Electro Magnetic Radiation of mobile towers throughout the country by Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cells. The tender for the same has already been floated by Telecommunications Engineering Center (TEC), New Delhi and the bids are presently under evaluation,” he said.