No Harm­ful Im­pact of Tower Ra­di­a­tion on Health: Prasad

Min­is­ter cites WHO study to jus­tify his view, says govt’s put tough norms in place

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New Delhi: Ra­di­a­tion from mo­bile tow­ers does not im­pact hu­man health, telecom min­is­ter Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Thurs­day, cit­ing a study by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) in­volv­ing 30,000 re­search sam­ples since 1971. “Af­ter de­tailed study of WHO find­ings, I found that there is no harm­ful im­pact of tower ra­di­a­tion on health. There is no rea­son to deny it. We have al­ready put 10fold strin­gent norms for telecom com­pa­nies in In­dia,” the min­is­ter said. He said that the gov­ern­ment has stip­u­lated a fine of .₹ 10 lakh for vi­o­la­tion and im­posed a penalty of more than .₹ 10 crore till now for ex­ceed­ing the pre­scribed limit for ra­di­a­tion from telecom tow­ers.

Re­it­er­at­ing that com­plaints against call drops and mo­bile tow­ers can’t go hand in hand, the min­is­ter said that de­spite ex­ten­sive re­search no sci­en­tific ev­i­dence has emerged to demon­strate health haz­ards due to telecom in­fra­struc­ture. In at least six in­stances, high courts have re­jected such claims, he said.

He ques­tioned the logic for grow­ing griev­ances over telecom tow­ers, ask­ing why users in the US and China don’t have sim­i­lar com­plaints. The min­is­ter’s views are in con­so­nance with those of the telecom ser­vice op­er­a­tors and in­fra­struc­ture com­pa­nies that at­tribute their in­abil­ity to ex­pand tower in­fra­struc­ture and thereby im­prove ser­vice qual­ity mainly due to un­founded fears over ra­di­a­tion.

Twenty-four In­dian sci­en­tists, in­clud­ing those from var­i­ous In­dian In­sti­tutes of Tech­nol­ogy in the coun­try, came to­gether on Thurs­day to un­der­line that ra­dio-fre­quency ra­di­a­tions from mo­bile tow­ers are non-ion­is­ing elec­tro­mag­netic ra­di­a­tions and they can't break chem­i­cal bonds or cause ion­i­sa­tion in the hu­man body.

Prasad un­veiled a re­port pre­pared by some fac­ulty mem­bers from IIT Madras, IIT Bom­bay, IIT Hy­der­abad, IIT Delhi and IISc Ban­ga­lore.

The re­cent ver­dicts of var­i­ous courts such as the Lucknow bench of the Al­la­habad High Court, Ker­ala High Court and Madras High Court also sup­ported telecom com­pa­nies while dis­pos­ing off pe­ti­tions by var­i­ous pub­lic groups and non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions. Mo­bile phones are a lead­ing tool of lead­ing in­clu­sive governance and it is good that the in­dus­try, gov­ern­ment, academia and in­ter­na­tional ex­perts are com­ing to­gether to al­lay con­sumers’ fears, Prasad said. The gov­ern­ment is banking on mo­bile de­vices for the de­liv­ery of many cit­i­zen-cen­tric schemes such as fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion and di­rect-ben­e­fit trans­fer. Ra­di­a­tion is­sues, which are not med­i­cally founded, could jeop­ar­dise these am­bi­tious ini­tia­tives, the min­is­ter said.

“Mo­bile is used for good governance and is driv­ing in­clu­sive­ness. We have 1 bil­lion mo­bile phones and an equal num­ber of Aad­haar cards which act as a dig­i­tal iden­tity,” Prasad said.

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