Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Protect your Family from Mobile Tower Radiation
Citizens must demand that the standard for radiation through mobile towers should be similar to the practice across the world and not 100 times higher leading to health disasters among residents, advocates Prakash Munshi
 
Indian government and the authorities are silently killing gullible citizens with huge dose of radiations from mobile towers. Instead of patting themselves for using norms lower than what is prescribed by an international non-governmental organisation (NGO), they should cut down the power of radiation from such towers to save Indian citizens, say Prakash Munshi. He was speaking at Moneylife Foundation on the ill-effects of mobile tower radiation. Mr Munshi has been creating awareness on health hazards from electro-magnetic frequency (EMF) radiation emanating from mobile towers antennae and advising precautionary measures to protect citizens.
 
"In September 2012, the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) came out with revised guidelines adopting one tenth of the norms set by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), an NGO. However, even these lower norms are far higher than norms followed by other countries, like Australia, France and UK. Revision in norms should have been done to reduce health hazards to citizens by reducing actual radiation levels and not norms. This could have been easily achieved by reducing the permitted power from the antennae to 10% or reducing the maximum power transmitted per antenna/site to 2watts instead of 20watts per antenna," says Mr Munshi, who prefers to be called as a concerned citizen and not an activist.
 
 
Mr Munshi is on a mission to educate users on the perils of mobile phone radiation, along with Bollywood actor Juhi Chawla. With 4G technology making an entry on to mobile space, Mr Munshi feels there is an urgent need to have transparency and public knowledge of radiation emitted by mobile towers. He said, one can reduce exposure to EMF radiation by avoiding using mobile phone or cordless phones for long. If there is a mobile tower near your home or office, first convince the operators to reduce transmitted power. If this is not possible, then go for removal of the tower from that location. If both fail, then install shields on all your windows. The shields or mesh should be made from steel or copper, Mr Munshi added.
 
He said, "What the Indian government is saying is they cut the standard to 450 milliwatts (mW) per sq metre for a frequency of 900Mhz (for 1,800Mhz and 2,100 Mhz and above, it is 9000 mW and 10,000 mW, respectively) and hence there is no violation from the cellular operators. But we want that standard to be reduced to match with what is followed in other countries. This is not happening. And at some places like the infamous Haji Ali Juice Centre, we found radiation levels above 100mW, when checked randomly, and without informing the operators."
 
"What is more shocking is there are simply no norms for clusters of antennae installed in India. Such clusters are not seen anywhere in the world, except India," he added.
 
Mr Munshi pointed out to a report from a magazine that has quoted, Michael Repacholi, Founder Chairman of ICNIRP. In the report, Mr Repacholi, stated that India has made a political decision and not health-based decision to adopt one tenth of ICNIRP norms. "Base stations RF (radio frequency) signals are normally extremely low, some 100s to 1000s of times below ICNIRP limits. However, if base stations are removed then coverage is lost and people will not be able to make calls. Alternatively, if base stations and the mobile phone try to increase their signal strength so the person using the phone is subjected to much higher RF levels. In addition, people living near base stations that have to increase their signal to communicate with the mobile will also receive higher RF exposures," Mr Repacholi said in an interview to Infrastructure Today.
 
Even the 53rd Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, in its report had stated, "The Committee strongly deprecates the lackadaisical approach of the Department of Telecommunications which is the nodal department for expansion and modernization of mobile telephony.” 
 
Mr Munshi says, "Although France and Australia follow the extremely high norms their actual levels of radiation are much lower than the Italy, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria and Lithuania, cited by the DoT before the Committee. The actual radiation level in France is at 20mW sq metre for 97% of mobile tower antennae there. According to Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), the country has actual radiation levels ranging from 0.904mW/m2 to 150.99 mW/m2 for the combined radiation from individual base stations." In India, the radiation levels are hundreds of times more.
 
 
Mr Munshi then explained health hazards due to EMF radiation, caused by mobile towers and precautions to take to protect people living near such locations. He said even the World Health Organisation (WHO) in its press release in 31 May 2011, stated that WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields at possible carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B) based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer.
 
 
Participating in a debate, Rajan S Mathews, Director General of Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI), told Mr Munshi that EMF radiation from mobile tower antennae is classified under group 2B “possibly carcinogenic” just like pickles and coffee. To this, Mr Munshi replied saying, "But I do have a choice whether to eat pickle or coffee. Citizens don’t have any choice on the radiation penetrating their residences 24x7. Health is our fundamental right and cannot be sacrificed for wealth of a few individuals and corporates.”
 
 
Talking about the latest blame game for call drops, the COAI is saying that this is happening because of lower signal levels as we have adopted a standard that is one tenth of the international standard of radiation. Mr Munshi, says, "It is incorrect to say that call drops are due to reduction in norms. Norms are only on paper. The actual radiation levels at the ground level did not change with the change in norms on 1 September 2012. Mr R Chandrashekhar, former Secretary of DoT has mentioned on a TV debate that 95% of the mobile tower antennae in India were below the reduced norms as on September 2012."
 
Even TRAI Chairman RS Sharma has blamed telecom companies for call drops. “The problem has increased in the past 5-6 months. In this time the spectrum has not shrunk suddenly. In fact, if at all, more spectrum has been made available. At the same time the customer base is growing at a steady rate,” Mr Sharma was quoted in a news report.
 
Mr Munshi says the government, authorities and mobile operators say there is no conclusive evidence of the ill-effects of mobile tower radiations. Citing the precautionary principle from laws of the European Union, he said, "If an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. Why the Indian government follow the same principle and ask mobile companies to reduce power of transmission similar to global practice, he questions. 

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COMMENTS

snvaidya

8 months ago

Congratulations for posting this important article on the subject. Not many people are aware of what is happening in this field and the harm being done to the public by intense microwave radiation.

Dr. S. N. Vaidya

Ralph Rau

9 months ago

The Mobile Phone spells disaster! For a long and healthy life depend on your land line and try to avoid your mobile phone - especially when near a landline.

Sankaranarayanan Vaitheeswaran

9 months ago

Thanks to Mr. Munshi for the informative and educative presentation. However, it is really disheartening to note that we are in a choiceness situation waiting to get ill-health due to this radiation. When I sit in my terrace and look around, it is really a horrifying scene - we are surrounded by such towers from all the four sides. Every third building which is slightly taller has the big microwave tower with discs projecting in almost all directions.
What we cannot measure - we cannot monitor. So, if we have to monitor and report to the government or any other authorities of the levels of radiation, then we should be equipped with some means to measure them.
Are there any simple devices which we can buy and use to determine the levels ?.

sunil kumar

9 months ago

sir,which department of Govt should be responsible - Telecom/IT/Heathcare or any other

dilip mody

9 months ago

Can you give details like size,etc of

Mesh to be installed on the windows please.

Thanks,
Dilip Mody

Home Ministry still refuses transparency in selection process of Padma Awards
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), traditionally made public, the complete selection-process for Padma awards just after their announcement on Republic Day. Since the last two years, it refused information under RTI. CIC has directed the MHA to provide the information within four weeks
 
Delhi-based right to information (RTI) activist, Subhashchandra Agrawal, had filed RTI applications in 2014 and 2015, seeking information from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 27 points pertaining to Padma Awards. These included, list of nominations received in the Ministry within the stipulated date along with names of those recommending nominations; authority through which MHA received such nominations; dates on which such nominations were received by the MHA; names of Search Committee Members; names considered by the  Search  and names recommended by the Search Committee.
 
The Public Information Officer (PIO) refused information on the grounds that some of the information was secretive in nature, some of it is not maintained in the office and that, the records have not been updated as yet and therefore information can be provided only in March or April when the Padma awards are given away.
 
Agrawal filed a second appeal in the office of Information Commissioner, Sudhir Bhargava in Delhi. The order on 16 February 2016, by him, makes it mandatory for the Ministry to provide all the information within four weeks of the order which would be mid-April.
 
Information must be made public on Republic Day itself:
 
The Commission after hearing both the parties and perusing the records observed that the name of the Padma awardees are declared on the Republic Day and information is uploaded on the website, hence, the information comes in public domain on the Republic Day itself. 
“Therefore, all information related to declaration of Padma Awards is part of the records as well as is under the control of the MHA and comes under the definition of ‘information’ as per Section 2(f) of the RTI Act.”
 
Non-completion of process no reason for denial of information:
 
“Once, an applicant seeks information as defined in Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, the CPIO, as per Section 7 of the RTI Act shall either provide the information or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in Sections 8 and 9 of the Act and cannot add or introduce new reasons or grounds for rejecting furnishing of information.” 
 
“However, the only reason put forth by the respondent in not providing the information is the non-completion of the process as the conferment of Padma Awards is done in March/April every year. The CPIO, is, therefore, unable to show any exemptions under the stated provisions of Sections 8 or 9 of the RTI Act under which the information can be denied. It being so, there is no ground for denying the information and the CPIO should furnish the same to the appellant.” 
“The Commission, therefore, directs the respondent to provide information to the appellant as sought by him in his RTI application dated 27 January 2015. With regard to the second appeal dated 12 May 2014, the Commission directs the CPIO to provide part information as sought in point nos. 17 and 24 of the RTI application to the appellant.”
 
“CIC directs MHA to restore practice of making public selection-process for Padma awards just after Republic Day (see attachments)”.
 
When contacted by Moneylife, Agrawal says, “There was a healthy practice in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to make public complete selection-process for Padma awards just after their announcement on Republic Day when quizzed through an RTI petition filed on the following day on 27th January. But suddenly MHA declined information on RTI petitions filed on 27th January by taking excuse that ‘process is not complete and over’ meaning thereby that such information would be disclosed only after honouring done by President of India in a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhawan (New Delhi) sometime in March-April! Names of those recommending for Padma awards for the year 2015 could not be made public even after more than one year even though record-retention-schedule for selection-process is just one year.” 
 
Central Information Commission now through its various verdicts dated 16 February 2016 has directed MHA to restore practice of making public selection-process of Padma awards just after Republic Day. Newly appointed Central Information Commissioner having given the multiple verdicts in this regard deserves all compliments for his bold verdicts against MHA,” he added.
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, and also convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book "To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte" with Vinita Kamte and is the author of "The Mighty Fall".)

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11 start-ups graduate from GenNext Hub
Chennai : Eleven technology start-ups graduated from the GenNext Hub, the Mumbai based start-up accelerator, an initiative of Reliance Industries Ltd. and powered by Microsoft Ventures, a joint statement said on Friday.
 
The GenNext Hub is now accepting applications for third batch, which will start in April 2016.
 
The GenNext Hub initiative is an extension of what Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani is often heard saying: "The idea is to find the next Reliance."
 
According to the statement, the initiative is to catalyse the startup ecosystem for a digital India.
 
The event held in Reliance Corporate Park, Navi Mumbai, saw the start-ups showcase their businesses to more than 150 investors, influencers, corporate customers and leaders.
 
The GenNext Hub enables entrepreneurs to build their companies through an immersive, four-month-long programme.
 
"At GenNext Hub we are catalyzing a unique startup ecosystem, which rests on the tripod of talent, technology and trust. We spot and encourage 'talent', help them harness their 'technology' and back them up by putting total 'trust' in them," GenNext chairman and a board member in Reliance Industries Raghunath A. Mashelkar was quoted as saying in the statement.
 
"We are supporting several of our startups from the second batch with strategic partnerships that will help them scale-up rapidly," Mashelkar said.
 
"We have seen some amazing innovation in the two batches that have graduated thus far from GenNext. Some of these have already made a mark in the ecosystem and have even become business partners for Reliance and Microsoft and we hope this trend will continue," Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman, Microsoft India, was quoted as saying in the statement.
 
During the four-month programme, the start-ups were mentored on customer development, business models, operational planning, product roadmap, market traction, fund raising and pitching.
 
The workshops cut across B2B and B2C businesses in diverse sectors such as sports, energy, hospitality, advertising, fitness, financial services, logistics, healthcare, payments and enterprise software.
 
Domain expertise was provided in intellectual property, product development, online promotions, advertising, public relations, financial modeling, communication and pitching.
 
Going forward, GenNext Hub will focus on helping companies scale-up with its "Scalearator" model and evolve from a "Minimum Viable Product" to a "Minimum Viable Company".
 
According to the statement GenNext Hub is now accepting applications for third batch, which will start in April 2016.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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