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Green Tribunal Notice to Centre, Firms on Mobile Towers

Expressing concern over health hazards posed by mobile towers, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued notice to the Centre and seven telecom firms on a plea alleging they are being installed in violation of stipulated guidelines.

A bench of the Tribunal comprising acting Chairperson Justice A S Naidu and expert member P C Mishra also restrained the telecom firms from setting up fresh mobile towers in the country without following mandatory provisions of law and obtaining the necessary permission from the competent authority.

"Considering the gravity of the allegations levelled and the health hazard likely to be caused, we direct that no construction of cell-phone communication towers shall be made without following the mandatory provisions of law and without obtaining necessary permission from the competent authority," the bench said.

It has sought the response of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Ministry of Communications & IT, Ministry of Health, Securities and Exchange Board of India and telecom firms -- Bharti Infratel Ltd, Airtel, Idea, Vodaphone, Tata, Reliance and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, by the next date of hearing on December 20.

The Tribunal's order came on the plea of Delhi resident Arvind Gupta, who has alleged inaction on the part of the government in strictly implementing the guidelines regarding installation of mobile towers in the country.

In his application filed through advocate B P Tripathy, Gupta has alleged that "norms are flouted brazenly by all companies involved with installation of mobile towers" and the Department of Telecommunications has not been implementing the guideline while allowing setting up of the towers.

In his application, Gupta has submitted that with the growth in the telecom sector the 3,76,000 mobile towers that existed at the end of March 2012 would increase to 420,000 by the end of March 2017.

He has alleged that radiations emitted by towers not only adversely affect flora and fauna, but can also cause cancer in human beings.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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