Department of Telecommunications (DoT), West Bengal and Kolkata License Service Area (LSA) have jointly organised an awareness webinar on ‘EMF Emissions and Telecom Towers’. This session was organised as part of DoT’s public advocacy programme to make the general public aware of the need of mobile towers and dispel myths regarding the health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) exposure from mobile towers.
The workshop was attended by more than 100 participants including government officials, the general public, residents’ welfare associations, students, doctors, telecom service providers, infrastructure providers and other officials. The eminent key speakers at the event were R.K Sharma, senior DDG; Tapas Paul, DDG (compliance), DoT Kolkata LSA; Pabitra Sarkar, DDG (compliance), DoT WB LSA and Mihir Kumbhakar, director, DoT Kolkata LSA as well as Dr Vivek Tandon, associate professor, AIIMS Delhi.
Commenting on the event, R.K Sharma, senior DDG, said, “India has second-largest mobile network base of active subscribers. By the end of 2025, 5G will account for over a fifth of total mobile connections, and more than two in five people globally will live within reach of a 5G network. With an increase in the pace of 5G deployment, it becomes pertinent to install a robust network of telecom infrastructure including mobile towers, small cell, fibre etc.. Telecom towers are a backbone of Indian mobile communications. Therefore, it becomes extremely essential to address the spread of misinformation and provide an authentic view of health concerns related to mobile towers. It is also important to be informed that no scientific or medical evidence is available to corroborate the argument used against mobile towers.”
Meanwhile, briefing on the telecommunication services, EMF exposure and the status of compliance, director, DoT Kolkata, said, “The government of India follows norms that are 10 times stricter than what has been prescribed by ICNIRP and recommended by WHO. DoT continuously monitors the EMF emission levels from towers across India and ensures compliance with emission norms across the country through its field. All telecom service providers are required to ensure the radiation from mobile towers (BTSs) is within prescribed safe limits. LSA also conducts physical audits of sites by selecting them randomly and testing the power of the available EMF signals at different probable locations near the site. West Bengal LSA has tested 1580 BTSs and Kolkata LSA has tested 877 BTSs from April 2021 to Feb 2022 and all BTSs have been found compliant as per DoT Norms. There is a need to bust the myth around the health effects from electromagnetic field radiation (EMR) exposure from diverse EMR sources especially mobile BTS antennae and mobile phones. Therefore, one must rely on the scientific data that EMF radiation from mobile tower is safe.”
Also, Dr. Vivek Tandon, associate professor, AIIMS Delhi, said, “The EMF radiation is low non-ionizing RF/electromagnetic energy emitted from mobile tower antenna of 2G/3G/4G/5G technology and mobile handset. According to the scientific research on the health impacts of radiation from mobile towers, it has been found that low powered, non-ionizing radiation emitted from the cell towers have no ill effects on human health, whatsoever. Misconceptions among a section of the state population around the health hazards of EMF radiations should not override the factual information made available to us through scientific research. Telecom towers are critical installations for the realising of the vision of inclusive growth. Hence, people need to be assured that any fear around mobile towers lacks any foundation.’’
Citizens must understand that India needs telecom infrastructure for the deployment of 5G and building a reliable network of telecom infrastructure on a robust network of mobile towers will provide mobile connectivity to the farfetched regions of the country. It will help in bridging the digital divide. By the end of 2027, 5G will represent around 39 per cent of mobile subscriptions in India, with an estimated 500 million subscriptions. Therefore, more towers are required for the realisation of the vision of Gati Shakti and Digital India’s vision of government of India. It is important to address that the fear surrounding the theories about EMF radiations is uncorroborated. EMF radiations from mobile towers are strictly monitored and assessed on a regular basis. Evidence from credible and extensive research has ruled out any possibility of health issues originating from EMF radiations. Moreover, eight high courts of India have also upheld the same view and have delivered judgments that aim to disprove all such unfounded fears and misguided activism that is posing a severe challenge to the overall growth and connectivity of the country.
DoT is fully committed and equipped to facilitate compliance with guidelines designed to safeguard beloved citizens from any risk of EMF exposure. People must be informed that proper regulatory frameworks are in place to monitor EMF emission levels and assured that mobile towers do not pose any threat to their health.