Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Jaipur License Service Area (LSA) organized an awareness webinar on “Awareness for Mobile Tower Myths and Tower Frauds”. Organized as part of the Department of Telecommunication’s public advocacy programme, the webinar made the general public aware of the need for mobile towers and dispel myths around EMF radiation and address unfounded fears of citizens by presenting credible scientific evidence as well as awareness about tower frauds.
An expert panel comprising senior officers from the telecom department along with doctors addressed the concerns of citizens while also debunking myths and misinformation related to health hazards connected with radiation from mobile towers. The webinar was attended by government officials, public, telecom service providers, infrastructure providers, and other officials.
The notable key speakers at the event were Ritu Shukla, Director, ROB, Jaipur; Dr. Pragya Paliwal Gaur ADG (Region), PIB & ROB, Rajasthan; Sidharth Pokarna Sr. Deputy Director-General, DoT, Rajasthan LSA, Jaipur; Rakesh Kumar Meena Director, DoT, Rajasthan LSA, Jaipur; and Dr. Arun Chougule, Senior Professor & Head of Department of Radiological Physics, S.M.S. Medical College & Hospitals, Jaipur.
Briefing the webinar, Ritu Shukla, Director, ROB, Jaipur discussed the need for mobile phones in our lives and the development of the country. She gave an overview of low-level Electro-Magnetic field’s emanation from mobile towers.
While giving an outline of the telecommunication services and highlighting the issues faced by the stakeholders, Dr. Pragya Paliwal Gaur ADG (Region), PIB & ROB, Rajasthan mentioned, “For socio-economic progress, we need a strong telecom industry that forms the bedrock by providing a robust network of mobile towers to boost connectivity. With an increase in the pace of 5G deployment, it is appropriate to install a robust network of telecom infrastructure including mobile towers, small cells, fibre, etc. Telecom towers are the backbone of Indian Mobile communications. Therefore, it is immensely important to address the spread of misinformation and provide an authentic view of health concerns related to mobile towers. It is also important to keep the masses well-informed that extensive research on EMF signals has not been able to establish any injurious effects on human health from mobile tower radiation”.
Addressing the webinar, Sidharth Pokarna Sr. Deputy Director-General, DoT, Rajasthan LSA, Jaipur said, “Mobile towers are essential for seamless mobile connectivity”. In a recent initiative, the Government of India and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) launched the ‘Gatishakti Sanchar portal’ which will help in removing the Row related hurdles, increase tower density which will further enhance the connectivity, and improve the quality of various telecom services. He further mentioned that there is a need to realize the importance of mobile towers to maintain the standard of this essential service and launch of 5G services; however, due to misconceptions and myths, mobile towers were removed at several places after installation, resulting in poor connectivity. We have gathered here to address these baseless theories and reassure citizens that radiations originating from cellular towers are completely harmless.
He further said that it has come to the notice that fraudsters/fake companies are cheating citizens of their money in the name of mobile tower installation in their premise and that citizen should be extra cautious in such matters as for tower installation no money at all has to be paid by the citizens rather tower companies pay rent to the citizens.
As part of his presentation on EMF Exposure and the status of Compliance, Rakesh Kumar Meena Director, DoT, Rajasthan LSA, Jaipur, said “The DoT monitors the EMF emission levels from towers across India and ensures compliance with emission norms across the country through its field units. 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. The Government of India follows norms that are 10 times stricter than what has been prescribed by ICNIRP and recommended by WHO. All telecom service providers must 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 about the health effects of 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 the mobile towers is safe.’’
On the subject of tower frauds, he said that there have been instances where victims have been approached by fraudsters/fake companies, informing them that their premise is selected for tower installation. The fraudster then asks for fees to get the necessary government permissions, and often provides them with forged government documents and No Objection Certificates. Once the money is deposited, the fraudster becomes unreachable. He further stressed that people should verify the company name from list of Infrastructure providers and service providers, available on www.dot.gov.in, and be extra cautious if money is being asked for tower installation. Also, if someone has become victim of such fraud, he should report it to nearest police station and to Rajasthan LSA, DoT.
Dr. Arun Chougule, Senior Professor & Head of the Department of Radiological Physics, shared his perspective and cleared misconceptions associated with mobile tower radiations. He said, “Extensive scientific research on the subject has been unable to find a connection between mobile tower radiation and human health. There is no scientific or medical evidence available to corroborate the argument used against mobile towers. Exceedingly low powered non-ionizing radiations are emitted from cell towers that have no adverse health impact on human life or animal life, whatsoever." Following investigations, the WHO has concluded that there is no risk to human health from mobile tower radiation, he further added.
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 which will further bridge the digital divide. By the end of 2027, 5G will represent around 39 percent 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 Govt. 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.
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