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Radiation norms: Clean chit to mobile towers in Kerala

The Kerala cell of Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM), working under the department of Telecommunications, has given a clean chit to base transceiver stations (BTSs), popularly known as cell phone towers, in respect of compliance to radiation norms.

The Kerala cell conducted the physical testing and verification of over 7,000 BTSs and all were found to be compliant with the latest radiation norms adopted by the department.

There are over 35,000 BTSs in the state and the stations for testing were selected to include all types of densely populated sites in urban, semi-urban and rural areas, according TERM.

The TERM cells have the authority to deal with matters pertaining to electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation of the towers.

The Kerala cell, based at Ernakulam, with jurisdiction over Kerala and Lakshadweep, is among more than 30 cells across the country. The Government of India had adopted the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines for the monitoring of EMF radiation from cell phone towers.

The cellphone service providers are directed to report radiation levels through a self-certification, which are verified by TERM cells. The TERM cells carry out compliance monitoring on a random basis for the 10 per cent of towers. If a site fails to meet the EMF radiation criterion, a penalty of Rs 10 lakh is levied on the service provider per BTS, according to the TERM cell.

The limiting reference levels of radiation from mobile towers have been reduced to one-tenth of the limit prescribed by ICNIRP, with effect from September, 2012.

The ICNIRP radiation norms range from 4.5 watt per square metre for 900 MHz frequency to 10.5 watt per square metre for 2100 MHz, a press release said.


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