SC orders a BSNL mobile phone tower in Gwalior shut down on plea of 42-year old cancer patient
NewDelhi,April12:In a first, the Supreme court has ordered that a BSNL mobile phone tower in Gwalior shut down on the plea of a 42-year old cancer patient, reported ET Telecom on Wednesday.
This the first time that a mobile tower has been ordered to be deactivated on the grounds that the electromagnetic radiation emanating from it has caused cancer in an individual, the report added.
Harish Chand Tiwari, a domestic help who had been working in Gwalior’s Dal Baazar area, had moved the apex court last year, complaining that a BSNL mobile phone tower, which was installed on the roof of the house neighbouring the one he worked in, had exposed him to constant harmful electromagnetic radiation for the past 14 years.
According to the report, Tiwari claimed before the apex court that the tower, which was illegally installed in the residential area in 2002 and was situated less than 20 metre from the house where he worked, was the cause behind his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
The order by a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha said: “We direct that the particular mobile tower operated by BSNL in the area mentioned in the petition filed by Harish Chand Tiwari, shall be deactivated by the BSNL within seven days from today.”
The development comes as the long-standing debate about the health hazards associated with cell towers continues.
Furthermore, as reported earlier, India’s safety factor in such matters is 10 times stiffer than in 90 per cent countries that follow standards set by the International Commission on Non-ionising Radiation Protection. In September 2012, the Department of Telecom had reduced the permissible radiation limits for tower firms to 10 times lower than recommended by World Health Organization. It had also asked the operators to maintain a certain distance from a building, depending on the number of antennae they want to install.
In fact, even as activists and concerned citizens continue to raise their voices against what they fear to be a health hazard, the central government in October last year had submitted in front of the apex court that there was no proof that radiation from cell towers had adverse health effects.
Also, in 2015, the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) had also said that radiation from cell towers did not cause cancer.
As reported earlier, in a letter to Rajasthan legislator Ram Lal Sharma, who had raised a question in the state Assembly on the link between cancer and people living within 100 metres of mobile towers, the COAI said there were no such adverse health consequences.