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Maharashtra may issue new cell tower policy this month [Mumbai] [Times of India]
[March 13, 2014]

Maharashtra may issue new cell tower policy this month [Mumbai] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) MUMBAI: Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has in principle approved the mobile tower policy for Maharashtra and the final notification is likely to be issued anytime this month, sources said.

Sources stated that the policy does not give approval for mobile tower installations atop hospitals, colleges and schools. However, objections have been raised by the TERM (telecom enforcement and resource monitoring) cell of DoT in Mumbai on this condition.

"It is far more practical to impose restrictions on the basis of radiation levels exceeding permissible limits instead of posing blanket restriction based on criteria of distances or type of locations (e.g schools/colleges etc.)," the letter written by M Biswas of TERM Cell, Mumbai said. However state officials said the state policy did not touch the distance criteria for towers based on radiation levels saying that it was totally DoT's prerogative. "State is just saying that these towers should not be atop or in the close vicinity of colleges, hospitals and schools. State has all authority to decide the type of buildings or structures which should not get the towers," they added. According to experts in the telecom industry banning towers on certain buildings was absolutely unnecessary and impractical too. "There is no need for such precautions as radiations have already lowered to such a level that they will never affect the most sensitive people such as pregnant women," they added.

Activists are, however, opposed to mobile towers coming in the close vicinity of hospitals, schools and colleges. "It is a health hazard to the children and patients. We have been opposing the move, and had also informed the state government while they were still finalising the policy. The government should not allow these cell towers, whose power output is more than the prescribed norms, to come anywhere close to educational institutions and hospitals. It will increase the radiation levels in the area and will be a health hazard to patients and students,'' said an anti-radiation activist.

A telecom operator said that there was nothing hazardous about having a cell tower atop a hospital or a school. "The Central norms do not have any such restrictions on the location of towers. Also, the radiation from these towers will not affect those inside the building,'' the operator said.

Former WHO official Mike Repacholi, who was in city recently to inspect cell towers, had told TOI that it was safe to have mobile towers installed atop schools and hospitals.

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