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EMF Studies

16 March 2016

India: Chandigarh's Elite Move High Court Over Harmful Radiation

"The establishment must not lose sight of the fact that any progress that comes at the cost of its citizens’ health cannot be, and should not be, acceptable."

City’s elite move HC over harmful radiation
by Saurabh Malik, Tribune News Service, Chandigarh, 
15 March 2016

Chandigarh’s elite today sent bells of concern ringing by filing a petition in public interest before the Punjab and Haryana High Court for protecting citizens from harmful radiation emanating from mobile towers in residential areas.

Virtually slamming the powers that be for apparent disconnect between them and health concerns of the people, Anuradha Saboo, Shivani Sehgal and Tani Sehgal of Sector 5 claimed that they were alarmed at the “callous and careless manner” in which the UT Administration was permitting telecom companies to erect mobile towers in residential areas.

They were doing so with “utter disregard for the health of its citizens”. This, they contended, was in contravention of all norms, including the policies of the Administration.

The three also sought the issuance of directions to the Administration to strike down the policy dated March 9, 2015, “to the extent it permits the setting up of mobile towers in residential areas”.

Taking up the petition this morning, Justice SS Saron and Justice Gurmit Ram put the UT Administration on notice before fixing April 28 as the next date of hearing in the matter.

In their petition through Suvineet Sharma and other counsel, Saboo and the other petitioners contended that the issue came to their attention when a cell tower was raised in proximity to their residences. “Such a tower affects the health and well-being of the petitioners and their families. Yet, it has equally dangerous ramifications for anyone who is a resident of the surrounding area,” they contended.

Not limiting their concerns to Sector 5 alone, they added that the petition was being filed by Sector 5 residents, but the issue at hand was of much larger purport, and had far-reaching consequences.

The court was told that the petitioners were well aware of the needs of a modern society, whose progress was based on digital empowerment. They were also well aware of the ambitions of the government when it came to establishing a nationwide digital footprint. “However, the establishment must not lose sight of the fact that any progress that comes at the cost of its citizens’ health cannot be, and should not be, acceptable”.

Referring to the arguments on behalf of industry associations such as the Cellular Operators Association of India that there was not enough empirical data to suggest damage, the petitioners claimed that it was directly in contravention of established principles in international and domestic laws.

Technicalities involvedThe petitioners claimed that mobile phones worked on “electromagnetic radiation”, and the rate at which energy was absorbed by the human body was measured by the specific absorption rate (SAR), which the Government of India had fixed for every handset.

The Department of Telecom, too, had issued guidelines for states when it came to setting up of cell towers/base stations. These guidelines found no mention in the notification issued by the UT, under which licences were granted to companies to set up their towers.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/chandigarh/city-s-elite-move-hc-over-harmful-radiation/209585.html

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