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Telecom towers pose risk of radiation

G Manjusainath Bangalore, Jan 28, 2012, DHNS 1:50 IST
A radiation bomb is ticking away in the City with thousands of unauthorised telecom towers coming up over the past few years, say environment activists.

In the last one decade more than 10,000 towers have come up in the City, but none of the telecom companies sought permission from the BBMP to erect them.

“Our estimate says that there are more than 10,000 towers, but it won’t be a
surprise if the number is far higher. All these towers were erected illegally without seeking permission from the BBMP,” said Deputy Mayor S Harish. The telecom firms do not bother to inform the local body before setting up towers at places of their choice, taking refuge under a letter from the telecom ministry which authorises them to set up as many towers as they want in the areas of their choice, without seeking consent of the local governing body or the state government.

Social activist and engineer Thelapanda Shivakumar Nanaiah, who is fighting a
battle in the City and elsewhere in the State against the mobile towers, says, “The telecom firms show a letter from the Government of India to bypass the local body while setting up mobile towers, but they do not know that the letter itself is illegal as it is in violation of the Constitution of India.”

To substantiate his claim, Shivakumar Nanaiah said that the Constitution says that the consent of the local body, which can either be municipal or panchayat, must be sought before setting up anything. Nanaiah said the International Commission for Non-ionising Protection Act-1998, a UN body, has set guidelines regarding the mobile towers as well.

“The mushrooming of towers is also in violation of the UN Act. Another UN agency, the WHO has also been critical about overlooking the health hazard these mobile towers pose through the electro-pollution,” said Nanaiah.

He added that as per the international standards, the non-ionic radiation should be limited between (-)14 Decibel Per Milliwatt (DBM) and (-)24 DBM. “But tragically, in Bangalore it is 20 times to 30 times higher than the permissible level.

Such high levels of electromagnetic radiation heats up the cells in the body, causes cancer, tumour, kidney-related disorder and many neurological problems,” said Nanaiah.
Deputy Mayor S Harish said the Palike is mulling some mechanism to rein in the mushrooming of towers.

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