Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Raipur License Service Area (LSA), 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 consumers aware about the growing need for mobile towers as part to build reliable telecom infrastructure and break myths regarding the health effects of EMF exposure from mobile towers.

Shri R. K. Garhwal, DDG(C), Chhattisgarh Circle, Madhya Pradesh LSA, Department of Telecommunications highlighted the need of telecom services in India and pressed on the challenges faced by the stakeholders of the industry, he mentioned, “In this evolved era of GSM technology single mobile user is enjoying improved telecommunication services which includes e-learning through various online platform, attending classes/ offices from home, OTT services, using mobile phones for various payments and bookings. India is growing as a base of active mobile network 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.It is important to be addressed that the fear surrounding the theories about EMF radiations is uncorroborated.”

Briefing at the event about the issue of EMF exposure and compliance Shri Nilay Saha, Director (Compliance), Chhattisgarh Circle, Madhya Pradesh LSA, Department of Telecommunications, said “The Govt. of India has defined some of the most stringent emission standards for mobile towers making India one of the few countries worldwide with the most stringent emission standards for mobile towers. We follow 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.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.’’

Dr Arun Chougule, Senior Professor & HoD of Radiological Physics SMS Medical College & Hospital also shared his perspective and said, “The EMF radiation is low non-ionizing RF/Electromagnetic energy emitted from mobile tower antenna 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 radiated emitted from the cell towers have no ill effects on human health, whatsoever. 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.’’

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 lack any foundation. Bridging the digital divide in India and building a reliable network of Telecom infrastructure is the need of hour which can be fulfilled by deployment of mobile towers, small cells and pushing fiberisation. These steps will help mobile connectivity reach far-fetched regions of the country. According to The Mobile Economy Report 2022 from the GSMA, 5G connections will surpass 1 billion in 2022 and 2 billion by 2025. By the end of 2027, 5G will represent around 39 per cent of mobile subscriptions in India, with an estimated 500 million subscriptions.

India holds the potential to lead the telecommunications technology sector across the globe therefore, more towers are required for the realisation of the vision of Gati Shakti and Digital India’s vision of Govt. of India. 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.

In 2021-22 till date, Chhattisgarh unit of MP LSA has tested 2,568 BTSs from April 2021 till date, and all BTSs have been found compliant as per DoT norms.