The government has informed the parliament that licensed service area (LSA) field units of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) have tested 1.16 million base transceiver stations (BTSs) across the country for compliance with stipulated electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation norms as on December 2022, of which 320 BTSs were found exceeding the prescribed EMF radiation limits.

In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Devusinh Chauhan, Minister of State for Communications, said that as on December 31, 2022, penalties of Rs 131 million had been recovered from defaulting telecom service providers (TSPs) for exceeding the prescribed EMF limits. The amount collected through penalties is credited to the Consolidated Fund of India. 

Chauhan added that the government has put in place a well-structured process and mechanism for monitoring any violation, so that TSPs adhere to the prescribed norms including submission of a self-certificate before the commercial start of BTSs. The field units of DoT regularly carry out the EMF audit of up to 5 per cent of BTS sites annually on a random basis. DoT also imposes financial penalties on operators whose towers are found to exceed the prescribed EMF emission limits.

Additionally, in response to a question, the minister said the number of mobile towers installed in the Belagavi district of Karnataka as on January 2023 stood at 2,811.