‘Awareness Webinar on EMF Radiation’

The West Bengal unit of Department of Telecommunications (DoT) organized an ‘Awareness Webinar on EMF Radiation.’ This session was organized as a part of DoT’s public advocacy programme to dispel unfounded myths and misconceptions around Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) Radiation and make the general public aware of the need of cellular towers for seamless connectivity.

During the session, an expert panel comprising of senior officers from the telecom department along with doctors, addressed concerns of citizens while also debunking erroneous concerns related to health hazards posed by radiations from mobile towers.

The workshop was attended by more than 100 participants including of government officials, general public, residents’ welfare associations, college faculty & students, doctors, telecom service providers, infrastructure providers and other officials. The eminent key speakers at the event were Shri Pabitra Srakar, DDG – Compliance, DoT West Bengal LSA, Sri R K Sharma, LSA Head, DoT West Bengal LSA, Shri Mihir Kumbhakar, Director – Compliance, DoT West Bengal LSA and Dr. Arun Chougule, Dean, Faculty of Paramedical Sciences, RUHS Head, Department of Radiological Physics & Radiation Safety Officer.

While giving an outline of the telecommunication services and highlighting the key issues faced by the stakeholders, Shri R K Sharma, LSA Head, DoT West Bengal LSA mentioned, “We have gathered here today to disprove falsified theories and provide authentic information on radiations emanating from cellular towers. The truth is that there is no impact of EMF radiations on human health whatsoever. Our extensive research has time and again ruled out every possibility of any severe health hazard from EMF signals. It is important to understand that installation of mobile towers is vital to meet the rising demand of strong network connectivity. We reassure our citizens that EMF radiations are completely harmless.”

As part of his presentation on EMF radiation, Shri Mihir Kumbhakar, Director – Compliance discussed the need of mobile phones in our lives and development of the country. He gave the overview of low-level Electro Magnetic field emanation from mobile towers. He mentioned, “DoT monitors EMF emission levels from towers across India. With the help of its field units, it also ensures compliance with emission norms. Moreover, LSA also conducts regular on-site audits and tests the power of available EMF signals at different possible locations nears the site. All fear around mobile towers and EMF radiations lack any foundation.”

“Telecom Industry is committed to provide world-class high-speed connectivity to the customers. We appreciate West Bengal LSA, Department of Telecommunication, Govt. of India for organising this EMF Advocacy Webinar today. However, the prevailing myths regarding EMF Emission from Telecom Towers is quite prohibitive and resulting in delayed roll-out of required infrastructure across the region thus creating connectivity issues. This webinar was aimed to dispel these prevailing myths. There is a fundamental misunderstanding that mobile towers generate radiations which are injurious to public health. However, World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded that ‘current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields’ based on approximately 25,000 studies published around the world over the last 30 years and in-depth review of scientific literature. So, we don’t need to worry about the adverse effect of mobile tower radiation as they are safe & strictly monitored”, said Lt. Gen. Dr. S.P. Kochhar, Director General, COAI.

Dr. Arun Chougule, Dean, Faculty of Paramedical Sciences, also shared his perspective and cleared misconceptions associated with mobile tower radiations. He said, “The radiations emitted by cell towers is exceedingly low powered and non-ionising that cannot affect humans in any way. No scientific or medical evidence backs the argument used against cellular towers. There is no need for people to be frightened of mobile towers in their area.”

It is important for citizens to understand today that EMF radiations are strictly monitored and assessed on a regular basis. Evidence from credible and extensive research has ruled out every possibility of any possible health issue from EMF radiations originating from mobile towers. The level of exposure near a cell phone tower is many times lower than the everyday exposure we get from the use of our cell phones. Eight High Courts of India have also endorsed the same view and delivered judgements that seek to debunk all such unfounded fears and misdirected activism that obstructs the growth of connectivity and economy.

Therefore, the misconception among a section of population in West Bengal around health hazards from EMF emissions must not be accounted for and installation of towers should be allowed and prioritised in their respective localities. The Government of India follows norms that are 10 times stricter than what has been prescribed by ICNIRP and recommended by WHO. Regular checks are also done to ensure that all telecom service providers are adhering to the regulations set by the Government.

DoT is fully committed and equipped to facilitate the compliance of guidelines that are designed to safeguard beloved citizens from any risk of EMF exposure. People must be informed and assured that there is no threat to their health from mobile towers.

During Q&A session, the panellists highlighted that the mobile connectivity is the need of the hour for every section of society. It is an integral component of Government’s vision for ‘Digital India.’ The panel discussion closed with a vote of thanks by Shri Mihir Kumbhakar, Director – Compliance.

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