The Andhra Pradesh licence service area (LSA) unit of Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had organised an “Online Awareness Workshop on EMF Radiation” on March 03, 2021. This session was organised as part of DoT’s public advocacy programme designed to dispel myths around EMF radiation and to quell unfounded fears of citizens, supported by credible scientific evidence.

An expert panel comprising of senior officers from the DoT along with doctors, addressed the concerns of the citizens and debunked various myths around health hazards from mobile tower radiation.

The workshop was attended by government officials, general public, residential welfare associations, student fraternity, doctor, telecom service providers, infrastructure providers and other officials.

During the session, V. Sundar, ITS advisor, AP LSA, DoT, Hyderabad emphasised the importance of a mobile tower and how well-entrenched infrastructure was a prerequisite for streamlining network connectivity.  He re-iterated, “In India, the EMF radiation norms are 10 times stricter than the limits prescribed by the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Various researches have been carried out on the effect of EMF signals on the human body and that there is no evidence till date which establishes that there is any effect on living beings due to these signals”.

Further, Chinna Babu, surgical oncologist, Apollo Hospital stated that “WHO has studied over 25,000 articles and reached the conclusion that there is no correlation between mobile tower EMF emissions and its hazardous impact on human health. Low-level exposure from mobile towers do not cause any harm to human health.”

Meanwhile, G.V. Ramana Rao DDG (Compliance), O/o Advisor, AP LSA, DoT, Hyderabad said “DoT monitors the EMF emission levels from towers across India and regulates emission norms through its field units, which are named as the telecom enforcement, resource & monitoring or TERM Cells. There are 34 TERM Cells all over India. These TERM Cells conduct audits of the Certification on emissions submitted by the TSPs. TERM Cells also conducts a physical audit of Site by picking them randomly and testing the power of the available EMF signals at different probable locations nearby the site. Further, TERM Cells also address all the complaints received from the public in respect of EMF emissions whether it is being received through email, PG portal or by dak, etc.”

Citizens need not worry about the adverse effect of mobile tower EMF radiation as they are been strictly monitored and evidence from credible sources have repeatedly ruled out the possibility of any impending health hazards emanating from EMF radiations.

Eight High Courts of India have also upheld this view and have delivered judgments that seek to dispel all such unfounded fears and such misguided activism is posing challenges in the growth of the economy and connectivity.

P Purushotham, Indus Towers Ltd has said that the Hon’ble single judge of High Court of Andhra Pradesh in a judgment while disposing a writ petition on 27.08.2020 stated that “This Court has consistently taken the view that no one can be prevented from erecting the cell phone towers on a mere apprehension about the effect of radiation from the cell phone tower. The apprehension does not have a scientific backing. Till a positive finding is given in this regard, cell phone towers cannot be prevented to be installed on mere apprehensions”.

Moreover, Arvind Kumar, Director(C-I), DoT has mentioned that the Government has always put citizens’ interests at the top and emission norms from mobile towers have been set keeping the public interest in mind, there are checks and balances in places to ensure telecom operators adhere to the norms set by the government.

The misconception with our population in villages in Andhra and Telangana on EMF emission is wrong and installation of towers should be allowed in their respective locality. There are checks and balances in places to ensure telcos adhere to the norms set by the Government. The Government of India follows 10 times more stringent norms than what has been prescribed by ICNIRP and recommended by WHO.

Mobile connectivity is the need of the hour for all sections of society; we must understand the importance of mobile towers in order to maintain the standard of this essential service, but due to misconceptions and myths, mobile towers were removed at several places after installation, resulting in poor connectivity. This programme will help address such issues.

Network connectivity is authoritative for a connected future and a healthy infrastructure will support the advancement of many technologies, which in turn would enhance the way we all live and work.

The level of exposure near a cell phone tower typically is many times lower than the exposure from using a cell phone. DoT and telecom operators are fully committed and equipped to ensure compliance of guidelines. These guidelines are designed to safeguard the concerns of citizens on EMF exposure norms are adhered as to safeguard our beloved citizens.