A uniform mobile tower installation policy would go a long way in the future development of mobile telecom in the country, said the apex body of GSM mobile telecom companies namely Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) and the cellular tower operators' body called Tower and Infrastructure Providers' Association (TAIPA).
     
COAI and TAIPA also urged Maharashtra to adopt Central guidelines in this regard, since they were drafted in consultation with the states.
     
"The Department of Telecom (DoT) guidelines aim at formulating state-wide uniform policies, so that undue interferences could be avoided. We sincerely call for a single uniform tower installation policy in Maharashtra," the two organizations said in a statement issued in Mumbai.
     
Claiming that the issue of radiation from telecom towers has been blown out of proportion by those with ‘vested interests,’ they said that the country has one of the lowest EMF emission norms in the world, which are even lower than US and EU levels.
     
"Any major deviation from Central guidelines will lead to severe network failures and massive service disruptions for a city like Mumbai and lead to grave inconvenience for mobile phone users," COAI director general Rajan Mathews claimed.
     
"Emission norms in India are so low, that there is no need for any exclusion zone for erecting a telecom tower, be it a school or a hospital," Mathews claimed, but offered to work with the state to ensure that mobile networks are not affected in any way and all fears about public health are addressed.
     
He said that the telecom industry is sensitive to public health concerns of the people of the city and despite following norms set out by international organizations like WHO and ITU, as well as the Centre, misconceptions are being propagated about cellphones and mobile towers.
     
"We're convinced about the widespread awareness of safety aspects of mobile phones and will further reassure citizens that mobile and tower emissions cause no health hazards, as we follow the best practices," Mathews said.
     
Late last month, the WHO clearly stated that "studies to date provide no indication that environmental exposure to radio frequency (RF) fields, such as from base stations, increases the risk of cancer or any other disease".
     
TAIPA Senior Director Tilak Raj Dua said that the industry would adhere to Central guidelines while setting up mobile masts in any part of the country including Maharashtra.
     
Dua said that the norms are very elaborate, comprehensive and addresses all concerns.

(Agencies)

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