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Radiation risk to be cut
India Created: 29 Sep 2012
AHMEDABAD: With the harmful effects of mobile tower microwave radiations becoming a concern in major cities, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) over the past week has been feverishly counting the number of cell towers installed in the city-and looking for their proximity to schools, residential areas and hospitals.

The AMC , the Cellular Operators Association of India (CAOI) and an agency, Indus towers, are toying with the idea of introducing cellular street furniture-which are high masts that will be installed along main streets at close proximity, to cut down on radiation intensity.

But for public health, the AMC would have to forgo a large chunk of its revenue from service providers. This is because individual service providers pay AMC Rs 40 lakh per kilometer for digging roads while laying cables and other equipments for the cellular towers.

From September 1, the department of telecom (DoT) had required that emission of electromagnetic radiations from mobile towers had to reduce to 1/10th of the existing 4.2 watts per sq meter for base transmitting stations (BTS) operating in 900 MHz band. Under new norms, the radiation has to be reduced to 0.42 watts per sq meter.

"Indus towers, which is a collaboration of the various cellular companies for installing common mobile towers has suggested cellular street furniture for highways while COAI has claimed that the masts can be put across Ahmedabad city at regular intervals away from vulnerable clusters. If done, it will be the first city in the country to do so," says a senior AMC official.

Ironically, there are an estimated 8,000 cellular towers in Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar. In Ahmedabad, only a half of these towers -almost 1,300 are registered with the AMC, while the rest are illegal. "It was necessary that the towers be registered with the town developing and the property tax departments and hence the work is on at the moment," says municipal commissioner Guruprasad Mohapatra.

A study by a team led by Girish Kumar, professor in the department of electrical engineering at IIT Bombay, claims that using mobile phones for over four minutes daily, or two hours per month (over 10 years of use) increases the risk of cancer and other health hazards. The study concludes that a person, at any rate, shouldn't use cell phones for over 18 to 24 minutes per day.
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Source: Times of India, Paul John, 29 Sep 2012

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