Government of India Approves new Electromagnetic Radiation Norms for Mobile-phone Towers and Handsets

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The Government of India has approved new electromagnetic radiation norms for mobile-phone towers and handsets. Starting September 1, the new norms have come into effect.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has also been working with Telecom operators to implement the new norms. The report also states that non-compliance of EMF standards, will result in a penalty of Rs 5 lakh, to be levied per base transceiver station per service provider.

Apart from that, mobile handsets with the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) values of 1.6 watt/ kg averaged over 1 gram of human tissue will be allowed in India, which is 50% more stringent than current norms. Presently, mobile handsets are compliant with 2 watt/ kg averaged over 10 gram of human tissue. From September next year, mobile phones with new SAR values will be permitted to be manufactured or imported in the country.

Guidelines for issue of clearance for installation of mobile towers

DOT has also issued guidelines (.pdf ) for issue of clearance for installation of mobile towers. The clearance now requires a:

Copy of Access Service License / IP Registration Certificate from DOT
Copy of SACFA clearance for the said location issued by WPC Wing of Department of Telecom.
Other clearance at State / Local authority level: from Pollution Control Board for DG Sets; from Fire Safety Department, if applicable; and from State Environment & Forest Dept. where necessary.

Copy of NOC from Building Owner.
Nominal one time Administrative Fee as may be decided by the Local body to recover its costs on the issue of permission for installation of Tower.
Electricity connection may be provided to BTS site on priority.

For BTS Tower, following details to be required: Data Sheet; Name of Service/Infrastructure Provider; Location; Tower Reference: height, weight, ground/roof top, and number of antennas planned on tower.
Copy of structural stability certificate for ground based BTS. OR

In case of roof top BTS towers, structural stability certificate for the building based on written approvals of authorized Chartered Structural Engineer (local bodies), Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee or reputed Engineering College like IIT, NIIT etc.
Avoid Base Station Antennas in narrow lanes (≤ 5 mt.)

In respect of roof top towers with multiple antennas, the roof top usage desirable to be totally restricted.

In case of both ground based towers & roof top towers, there shall be no nearby buildings right in front of the antenna with height comparable to the lowest antenna on tower at a distance threshold

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Formation of State and District Telecom Committees. Keeping public interest in view, there is a need of regular interactions between TERM Cell of DOT and State / District administration. Hence it is proposed to Set-up State and District Telecom Committees for review of all Telecom Infrastructure related issues at State/ District Level.

Though these guidelines do bring the radiation levels lower, but they are still drafted with several open ends, like direction of antenna, How the towers will be mounted in a densely populated areas, how to avoid the pollutions these towers cause by using diesel gen-sets for powering the towers when mains is not available – which is as much as 20 hours in most places in India.

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