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03 June 2016

India: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Seeks Report on Radiation from Mobile Phone Towers

(Illustration:  Ashish Asthana)
NHRC seeks report on radiation from mobile phone towers
GN Bureau, 3 June 2016

‘Right to Health and Right to Life of a common man could be under serious threat’

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the ministries of communications and information technology and ministry of health, calling for a report in the wake of allegations in a complaint that mobile phone towers, in the close vicinity of residential areas, are emitting radiations, hazardous to the health of human beings. The secretaries of the two ministries have been given two weeks to respond.

In a press statement on Thursday, the commission observed that today's generation is “living among mobile towers, digital cables, mobiles etc.” and the virtual world has encompassed every aspect of human life. “In such a scenario, if the allegations levelled in the complaint are true, the Right to Health and Right to Life of a common man are under serious threat. The government should adopt strategies which ensure that development is done without causing any substantive damage to the life and health of human beings and other living things.”

The complainant has mentioned in detail the ill-effects of electro-magnetic radiations and has cited various scientific studies and guidelines. He has submitted that a radiation is a threat to human health and life, especially patients, children, old people and the foetus. He has also referred to a government order dated August 21, 2013 which states that the local self-government institutions should confirm that "the proposed tower is not coming within 500 metres of schools/hospitals".

He has stated that this order is imperfect because it does not cover "houses" but only "schools/hospitals", which should not be within 500 metres of a mobile phone tower. Allegedly, due to this “imperfect and illogical” government order, the mobile operators are violating safe radiation range and are erecting towers in thickly populated residential areas thereby exposing people to electro-magnetic radiation. They tempt the land owners by quoting fabulous prices for erecting the mobile towers.

He said that the question is not only of the unsafe mobile phone towers in the residential areas but also of the excessive level of radiation emanating from them. Even if each of the towers of 11 mobile network companies operating in India does not exceed the radiation limit singularly, the combined radiation range of all these towers, with the advent of 3G, 4G etc., together far exceed the permissible limits of safety.

The fact that a sum of Rs 10.80 crore was reported to have been collected as fine up to May 31, 2015 from various mobile operating companies for violating radiation range is a proof that the safe radiation ranges are often being violated by them. The faulty and unsafe fittings of diesel generators to run the mobile towers also cause lot of air pollution.

http://www.governancenow.com/news/regular-story/nhrc-seeks-report-radiation-mobile-phone-wers

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