Maharashtra government to seal cell towers flouting radiation norms

The Urban Development Department will iron out the lacunae in the existing policy; a new study will verify if the radiation levels are carcinogenic in nature

The state government will seal cellphone towers that flout radiation norms set by the Centre. It will also amend the existing policy for mobile towers in which a state-wide mechanism will be put in place to check violation of norms, and will initiate a study to verify whether high radiations cause deadly diseases like cancer.

A new state-wide mechanism will probe violations of existing norms. File pic
A new state-wide mechanism will probe violations of existing norms. File pic

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis made this announcement in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, following demands made by legislators from various parties that the radiation levels were too high and the intensity could pose fatal health hazards that cause diseases like cancer.

The issue was raised when BJP legislator Dr Sunil Deshmukh pointed out that his hometown Amravati had 152 illegal cell towers. Deshmukh’s revelation led Mumbai MLA Ashish Shelar (BJP) and others to ask the CM to review the situation across the state, especially in Mumbai.

They demanded that the existing policy be altered so that the violations are checked and the general public is not put through health hazards due to the violation of Department of Telecommunications (DoT) guidelines on radiation levels.

Fadnavis said that since local self-governing entities did not earn much revenue by allowing cell towers on private premises, rules would be changed to help local municipal corporations make more money. The CM also said that a state-wide mechanism would be put in place to probe complaints of high level of radiations.

“I understand that there are certain lacunae in the existing policy and hence I will ask the Urban Development Department to make suitable changes to it,” said Fadnavis. However, he did not specify the proposed changes that would be carried out.

In Mumbai, the cell tower policy is administered by the BMC. Activists have consistently complained against high radiation and installation of towers at places that pose a threat to a large number of people. Currently, the issue of installing towers in open spaces and BMC gardens is facing a lot of flak from the public.

Recently, cellphone operators had asked the state government to allow cellphone towers on government-owned buildings across the state. They have also asked the government for a uniform policy that will ease the process of installation of more mobile tower antennae in the state.

RK Laxman museum
Cultural Affairs minister Vinod Tawde told the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday that a museum in memory of political cartoonist RK Laxman would be set up in the city soon. Along with Laxman’s work, the museum will have the works of other cartoonists on display, said the minister. The site for the museum will be decided later.

‘Bombay’ to ‘Mumbai’
Two decades after the name of the city was changed from Bombay to Mumbai, the state government will replace names of 199 Acts bearing the old nomenclature of Bombay. Earlier, in 84 Acts, the word ‘Bombay’ was replaced with ‘Maharashtra’. However, 199 Acts still carry the word Bombay. These Acts were enacted before the reorganisation of the state on May 1, 1960, when the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra were part of the state of Bombay.

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