WHO report: Govt plans stricter laws for mobiles, towers

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New Delhi, Jun 6: Following the World Health Organisation's (WHO) latest report suggesting that the increased mobile phone usage may cause brain tumour, Indian government plans to implement stricter laws for mobile handsets and towers.

The inter-Ministerial Group set up by the Communications and Information Technology ministry to study about the negative effects of mobile phones and towers submitted its report, which suggests mandatory declaration of radiation levels on each mobile handset.

Sachin Pilot, the Union Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology has said while telecom industry is a huge success story in India, any possible health related effects of radiation emitted by mobile phones and towers are to be reflected and ensured in the guidelines.

Salient recommendations in the report submitted by the Inter Ministerial Group are:

Mobile Handsets:

• The Group has proposed revising the limit of 2 watts per kilogram averaged over 10 grams tissue to 1.6 watts per kilogram averaged over 1 gram tissue.
• Mandatory declaration of radiation level on each mobile handset.

Mobile Towers:

• Radiation norms which are ten times as strict as the existing ones- from f/200 watts per square meter to f/2000 watts per square meter have been recommended.
• Earlier, necessary amendments were carried out in the Access Service Licenses in 2008 mandating self-certification radiation levels of towers to ensure compliance with WHO-endorsed guidelines of International Commission for Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) adopted by India Each instance of non-compliance carries a penalty of Rs.5 lakhs.
• Till 31st March 2011, 5,88,645 out of 6,05,859 base stations had been self-certified. The report is under consideration of Department of Telecom.

"We are working on it (report) and soon come out with fresh guidelines to address possible health hazards from mobile towers and handsets," Sachin Pilot said.

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