New Delhi: Radiation emission from mobile telephone towers will be reduced to 1/10th of the present level from Saturday, a decision aimed at addressing public health concerns.

Also, the handsets to be rolled out from domestic manufacturing units or to be imported will have reduced absorption capacity, as per the new guidelines.

The minimum distance of a tower (with two antenna) will be 35 meter from a residential building. There are over seven lakh towers for mobile phones throughout the country.

Non-compliance of these standards will result in a penalty of Rs 5 lakh per tower, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said.

"Public health comes first. Technology must be embraced but it ultimately must be subject to public health," he said.

From Saturday, the new EMF (Electromagnetic Frequency) radiations exposure limits are lowered to 1/10th of the existing limits.

On mobile handsets, the specific absorption rate (SAR) value will now be 1.6 watts/kg averaged over one gram of human tissue. Previously, the SAR value for handsets was 2 watts/kg measured over 10 grams of human tissue.

However, one-year time has been given for tuning the handsets in stock with companies. "Any new handset that is manufactured must comply with this norm," the minister said.

Mobile users have also been advised to use headset (bluetooth, wired) to keep mobile away from their body. They should also limit the length of calls and make more use text messaging.

The SAR value information will be displayed on the handsets like IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number, which is used for the recognition of the model.

The Telegraph Act will be amended for ensuring compliance of new SAR values, Sibal added. The government will set up a testing lab for random checking of SAR values of mobile handsets, Sibal said.


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