‘Ask operators to prove cellphone towers are safe’
Indian Express 27 Feb 2013, Page 3
Asking the Supreme Court (SC) to direct the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) to prove "beyond reasonable doubt the hypotheses that there are no health hazards due to electromagnetic (EMF) radiation from cellphone tower antenna and mobile phone", some citizen groups in the city have made a submission to the ongoing case in the SC.
Citing a possibility of disruption in cellular services in Rajasthan, telecom operators have moved the SC against a Rajasthan High Court order to remove all cellphone towers installed overhead or in the vicinity of schools, hospitals and playgrounds.
"Health is a Fundamental Right granted by the Constitution of India and we cannot sacrifice health due to technology advancement. Are the cellular operators giving us guarantee that the citizens of India will not be affected with any health hazards due to radiation from their antennae? No (they are not)...Will they (COAI) agree to a law to protect the citizens for their misdeeds before any judgment is passed in this case, which can have serious repercussions all over the country and serious impact on the health of citizens," says the submission.
The communication has been submitted by Juhi Chawla and Prakash Munshi on behalf of Carmichael Road Residents Association, Cuffe Parade Residents Association, Pedder Road Residents Association, Malabar Hill Residents, Indians for Safe Environment, Napean Sea Road Residents Forum, Action Against Cell Towers (Bandra), actor/director Farhan Akhtar and director Zoya Akhtar, Dr Ashish Mehta (spinal and neurological surgeon) and Dr Anand Gokani (senior physician and diabetologist).
"Why do cellular operators put danger signs near their installations? Why does the Department of Telecommunication and Ministry of Communications and Information Technology publish advertisements which tell people that if they have a choice, they should use a landline (wired) and not a cellphone? No one has any answer to these questions. If there was no danger from cellphone tower antenna, what is the need for such an advice?" questioned Munshi.
The letter says health problems due to exposure to radiation from cellphone tower antennae, according to studies, range from headaches and fatigue to memory loss and cancer. The residents have submitted that in addition to comparing radiation norms of other countries, it is crucial to compare the actual radiation levels and power transmission in these countries and look at all other parameters such as the number of antennae on buildings, power transmission from each antenna, height at which these antennae are installed, distance between the antennae and buildings like schools, colleges, hospitals and residences, among others.