In an official statement yesterday, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said that it was disappointed by the Rajasthan High Court's order issued on Tuesday. The Rajasthan High Court has ordered that mobile towers be moved away from educational institutions, hospitals, and playgrounds in the state within two months, citing the hazards of mobile tower radiation. The COAI is the country's apex representation of the telecom industry. 
Rajan S Mathews, director general, COAI, commented, “We are disappointed by the order and will determine the industry's future course of action on the matter once we have the formal order and have studied all the details closely. The industry has always been compliant with norms related to exposure limits and will continue to work actively along with the Government of India to ensure that compliance is maintained.”
The shortage of towers will affect the quality of services (Image credit: Getty Images)
Disappointed with the Rajasthan HC order (Image credit: Getty Images)

“The industry will determine the future course of action following a detailed study of the high Court order which is awaited. While we remain sensitive to the concerns of citizens and our customers, we reiterate here that the EMF emission safety norms prescribed by the Government of India cover all citizens, including children and patients. We are fully compliant with these safety norms and will continue to work with the Government of India to ensure continued compliance with the pertinent laws and safety norms set out for the industry,”
said a COAI spokesperson.
Over the past few months, the attempts of the government of India to contain harmful radiation from mobile towers have come to the fore. The government adopted the most stringent safety guidelines for electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure. The permissible exposure limit to EMF radiation in India is 1/10th of the ICNIRP standards, considered to be the safest in the world. The telecom industry claims to be fully compliant with the new exposure norms. Over 90 percent of the countries of the world have adopted ICNIRP standards. With further reduction made by the government of India to the safe exposure limit defined by ICNIRP, India's EMF emission exposure limit is now lower than that of over 98 percent of the countries in the world. The government has acknowledged that there is no conclusive scientific evidence linking EMF emissions from mobile base stations to human health, and that the lowering of the exposure limit was a precautionary measure.
The COAI is of the opinion that the mobile towers and base stations in India are safe and fully compliant with the safety, environmental, and health norms prescribed by the government of India. It adds that the industry has voluntarily undertaken many proactive measures, including significant redesign of its networks and infrastructure, tower sharing, equipment power reduction, etc., to enhance the operational efficiency and safety of its network.
The issue gained prominence last week again. After plaintiffs failed to make a prima facie case to halt the installation of mobile towers on grounds of violation of laws or fears of electromagnetic radiation, the Kalyan Civil Court, Mumbai, turned down their plea. The court arrived at the decision in the absence of any evidence that the erection of the mobile tower and base centre was illegal or violated any laws or rules.
On the basis of a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, and the committee of experts constituted as per the writ petition, the court observed that there was no substance in the argument that electromagnetic emissions are hazardous to human life.

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