The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Thursday said it had asked seven telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices and Vodafone, to stop using a certain tower site in Mumbai after it was found these companies were emitting radiation beyond permissible levels.
According to the new radiation norms effective September 1, operators have to reduce emission from the previous permissible level of 9.2 watt per square metre to 0.92 watt per square metre. Non-compliance with the norms would result in a penalty of Rs 5 lakh per tower.
“11 base stations of Reliance Communications, TTML (Tata Teleservices Maharashtra Limited), Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Aircel and Loop Telecom were found radiating beyond permissible limits of the new radiation norms when measurements were carried out in some houses facing the nearby base transceiver station antenna,” the department stated.
The DoT has also directed all operators to carry out a comprehensive exercise to identify tower sites that are non-compliant with the latest radiation norms and ensure these are either shut or made compliant with the new norms, failing which penal action would be taken against them. Functioning of base transceiver stations may be resumed only after the sites were made compliant, the department added.
When contacted, Rajan Mathews, director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India, said, “It was only one multi-tenant tower for which radiation was found to be marginally high, at 1.1MHz, compared with 0.92 MHz required by the guidelines. The tower has been shut. Most of our members are fully compliant with the rules.”