A special awareness programme has been organized by the department of telecommunication in collaboration with the Goa State Pollution Control Board in the villages of South Goa to spread awareness over the adverse impact of radiation from mobile phone towers on their health. The assessment was made in the light of the upcoming BRICS Summit that will be held in Goa in October. As per information available, Salcete BDO, who is also the nodal officer for the BRICS Summit, has dashed notices to village panchayats of Benaulim, Carmona, Cavelossim, Colva, Orlim, Betalbatim, Varca, Navelim, Assolna, Velim and Majorda. A total of 41 towers has been proposed in these villages with panchayat of Benaulim having nine proposed cell sites.
The decision came after the telecommunication department found the network connectivity in South Goa to be worse than that in North Goa. According to the sources, there is a proposal pending before the GSPCB for installation of 61 mobile towers in South Goa to improve internet connectivity. Concerning the health of the public, the panchayat has been objecting to set up the towers. Last year the GSPCB had decided that the telecom operators would have to take a no-objection certificate from the local bodies to set up mobile phone towers on the building before seeking consent to put up the same from the board.
According to an official from GSPCB said that “The telecom, enforcement, resource, and monitoring unit of the department of telecommunication and GSPCB officials will be deputed to spread public awareness to allay undue apprehensions in respect of possible health effects from electromagnetic field radiations. The programme will be held on Sunday,”
According to an official from science and technology department, “The radiation from mobile towers is non-ionising and cannot break the DNA, unlike X-ray, ultraviolet and gamma rays. We have to allay the fears from the minds of the people. We have conducted various studies and the TRAI has concluded recently that so far there is no such proof of health hazard from EMF radiation,”
The awareness programme will be organized at gram sabha meetings to be held on Sunday in 18 village panchayats of Chicalim, Cana-Benaulim, Sancoale, Carmona, Cavelossim, Colva, Orlim, Betalbatim, Bogmalo, Nagoa, Varca, Navelim, Velsao, Assolna, Velim, Majorda-Utorda-Calata, Arrosim-Ircosim and Verna. The gram sabhas will be attended by members of COAI, Goa state pollution control board, and telecom operators.
The state already has 1100 mobile towers with 1G, 2G, and 3G technology, and now 4G technology mobile towers are coming up across the state. According to the sources, As per the guidelines framed by the state government for installation of mobile-based station towers, the upper limit for radiations from towers should not cross 450 milliwatts/per square meter (mw/m2).
According to the Director General of the Cellular Operators Association of India Rajan Mathews said that, though the mobile connectivity is increasing and requires more towers, locals in the areas of Porvorim, Siolim, Calangute, Baga, Arpora, Santa Cruz, Merces, Dramapur, Varca, Borda, Benaulim, Sancoale, Nagoa, Loutolim and Colva have been opposing erection of towers.