The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has said that the mobile industry is already following the new emission norms proposed by the DoT which are one of the most stringent in the world.
“The telecom Industry in India has always been proactive to adopt and ensure compliance with the International safety standards on EMF exposure limits, upholding public health and environment as its foremost concern,” COAI said in a statement.
“As early as 2008, the industry alongside DoT took the lead in setting up standards for EMF emissions, the best standards operational in the world were reviewed and the ICNIRP standards were adopted as they provided the safest margins to ensure no adverse effects on the health of the people,” COAI added.
Recently, Inter Ministerial Committee, as a precautionary measure, recommended that the standards be lowered to 1/10th of the present ICNIRP standards which is considered to be the safest in the world with over 90 per cent of the countries having adopted the ICNIRP guidelines.
Rajan S Mathews, director general, COAI stated, “Being sensitive to the concerns of the people, the industry voluntarily undertook proactive measures and underwent a massive transition in its network infrastructure which was redesigned significantly to meet the prescribed norms.”
He further added that, “The industry has always been compliant of the exposure limits and will continue to work actively along with the DoT to ensure that compliance is maintained in this area. We are hopeful that our partnership with the government will continue in this sphere to assuage the concerns that the public have regarding the health effects of EMF emissions from mobile towers and ensure that they are informed of the true scientific facts on the matter and be assured that their safety is being safeguarded with utmost sincerity and priority by the industry.”
However, the proposed guidelines also prescribe that all the new tower had to get Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) done before being erected, and there are also restrictions of having two towers within 1 KM range of one another. The operators say that this will make it difficult to maintain optimum mobile coverage in congested areas and will also delay the new network roll-out.