195 radiation complaints in 4 days

Reetika Subramanian

Mumbai, Oct. 9 -- Barely four days after its launch, the Union government's complaint-handling system for measuring mobile tower radiation emissions received more than 195 complaints until Monday, when members of Action Against Cell Towers (AACT) also came together to formulate a plan to fight against illegal towers in Bandra.

While 110 of the complaints have been registered through the helpline and the online portal since last Thursday, the monitoring teams have completed 32 inspections. "Initially, citizens complained about a technical snag in using the online banking service. However, after rectifying the error, more than 50 citizens have also paid the processing fee of Rs4,000," said an official from the Union department of telecommunication (DoT).

On October 4, the Union department had launched the country's first complaint-handling system for measuring radiation emissions by mobile towers.

As per the procedure, a three-member monitoring committee visits the complainant's house to measure the radiation emission readings in every room. Based on the measurements, a report is prepared by the team and submitted to the complainant within 10 days.

In case the radiation levels are higher than the permissible limit of 450 milliwatts per square metre, the processing fee is refunded to the complainant, and the mobile tower operator has to pay a penalty of Rs5 lakh.

"The past few days were also spent in mapping the entire city and dividing the five monitoring teams zone-wise. Once the system is stabilised, we will be able to attend to 20 complaints every day," added the official.

On its part, the AACT team will carry out measurements of radiation levels in different areas and alert citizens about its ill-effects. "Once we collect the data, we will contact TERM Cell and ask them to act on it," said Darryl D'Monte, president of Bandra West Residents' Association.

AACT will co- ordinate with 55 ALMs asking them to identify cell towers in the area, create awareness amongst citizens and encourage them to file RTI pleas.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.