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Prasad questions NGOs' role in campaign against mobile towers

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Seeking to link the call drop problem with the campaign by some NGOs against mobile towers, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said the so-called radiation from such towers has never been an issue for these organisations in the US, Europe or even China.

Prasad said misplaced concerns of mobile tower radiation could seriously jeopardise India's path to greatness as seamless mobility could be affected by such unfounded fears.

"This question troubles me a lot. Why this is not an issue in the US, Europe, China, why some of the biggest NGOs have taken this issue in India, why should you presume," he said at a conference on 'Electromagnetic Emissions in Mobile Telephony and its Health Impact' at IIT-Delhi.

The conference was jointly organised by IIT-D and Maulana Azad Medical College, in association with Health Environment Foundation, New Delhi.

Citing WHO reports, he said, there is no concrete evidence of any harmful effect from such radiations as of now.

"When I became the minister...I saw all the WHO reports and then I found that as of now there is no evidence to suggest that radiation effects are there...I see 30,000 samples of WHO clearly saying there is no harmful effect, repeatedly over the years," Prasad said.

In India, the government has fixed the EMF radiation limit which is 10 per cent stricter than the international guidelines and whenever there is any violation, a fine of Rs 10 crore is imposed.

"Till now we have imposed about Rs 10 crore as fine on those whose towers were found to be emitting radiations beyond the permissible limits," he said.

He also noted that complain against call drops and campaign against towers cannot go hand-in-hand.

"If there is a technology that (suggests) without towers or BTS, mobile signals can go, tell me," he said.

Kenneth R Foster of the University of Pennsylvania, USA said: "Radio frequency fields are among the most highly researched potential hazards. There are thousands of papers in literature and health agencies have reviewed all of them many times. Virtually all agree that there are no demonstrated hazards from exposure to RF energy at levels below international (and Indian) limits.

First Published: Thu, April 07 2016. 18:28 IST