India: Penalty for violation in cell tower radiation levels

zondag, 02 juni 2013 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal

Bron: .
1 juni 2013

Sibal calls for doubling penalty for violation in cell tower radiation levels

KOLKATA: Mobile phone companies will soon have to shell out Rs 10 lakh per site as penalties for any breach in cell tower radiation levels. Communications minister Kapil Sibal has recommended doubling the penalty for any violation in cell tower radiation levels from the present Rs 5 lakh per site per telco to Rs 10 lakh per site per telco, according to documents reviewed by ET.

''Penalty for non-compliance of actual radiation norms may be two times higher,'' says Sibal in an internal telecom department note, a copy of which was reviewed by ET.

But Sibal is learnt to have advised DoT officials during a recent meeting with telecom industry representatives ''not to treat penalties as a revenue generation exercise but as clauses to facilitate compliance,'' said a top executive of a GSM operator who was present in the meeting. This is since the telecom department was pressing for a three-fold jump in the penalty for any violation in cell tower radiation exposure level.

Sibal has also urged the telecom department to ''levy only a token sum'' if a telco is found radiating from a new site without having submitted the necessary documents or installed the required signages on such towers.

Till recently, such non-submission of documents relating to new sites were also being treated as cell tower radiation violations by DoT and attracting the Rs 5 lakh per site penalty, which will no longer be the case.

Sibal called for a review after representatives of COAI and AUSPI -- the industry bodies representing telcos operating on the GSM and CDMA technology platforms -- apprised him that merely 1.2% of radiation-related penalty notices issued by DoT pertained to actual non-compliance, while a majority were triggered by faulty documentation or non-availability of signages at tower sites.

But the minister has ruled out easing the rules for non-compliance on cell tower radiation limits, and urged telcos to furnish a comprehensive data-base on current radiation levels at tower sites by July 15. ''The industry will have to demonstrate through this computerised database that radiation exposure limits prescribed by DoT are being adhered to,'' says the department note with ET.

Effective from September 1, 2012, DoT had lowered the permissible radiation limit to 0.45 watts per sq metre -- which is one-tenth of the ICNIRP guidelines - for Indian operators.

Germany-based International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection or ICNIRP puts out norms on permissible radiation limits for tower firms: 4.5 watts per sq metre in the 900 MHz frequency band. Some countries (notably the United States and Canada) are above it. While several including India, are below it.

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