Govt slaps 10.80 crore fine on telcos for exceeding radiation limit

The government has levied a huge Rs 10.80 crore fine on telecom operators for exceeding the radiation limit emitted from mobile towers. Airtel was the biggest offender, garnering the maximum penalty of Rs 2.15 crore.

It was followed by Vodafone at Rs 1.80 crore, Reliance for Rs 1.65 crore and Tata at Rs 1.45 crore. Other members of the guilty party include Idea (Rs 95 lakh), Aircel (Rs 90 lakh), BSNL (Rs 70 lakh), Loop (Rs 55 lakh), Uninor (Rs 35 lakh), MTNL (Rs 15 lakh), and Videocon (Rs 10 lakh).

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In his statement to the Rajya Sabha, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad claimed that 6 base tower stations (BTSs) were discovered to be going beyond the prescribed electronic frequency (EMF) limit during this year. The total figure of mobile BTSs in India till date stands at 908353.

The number of towers exceeding the maximum radiation value was 103 in 2012 – 13, 77 in 2013 – 14 and zero in 2014 – 15. Prasad stated that the fine for violation of EMF norms has increased from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh per BTS per incidence. He further said the rule has been in place since January 20, 2013.

Also Read: COAI claims that mobile tower radiation is harmless

According to the PTI report, the government in 2012 had lowered the radiation limit to 1/10th of the levels proscribed at the time. The Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) field units of the Department of Telecom (DoT) are in charge of making sure network providers stay within the boundary of emissions.

They do this by auditing self-certificates submitted by telecom companies. A fine is imposed on them if they’re found to be violating the rules, followed by the closure of the BTS site if the offence continues. The TERM cell additionally looks into public complaints regarding mobile towers.