The government has imposed total penalty of 10.80 crore on telecom operators for exceeding prescribed electronic frequency (EMF) limits, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha today, as reported by The Financial Express.
According to the statement, the maximum penalty of Rs 2.15 crore was imposed on Bharti Airtel followed by Rs 1.80 crore on Vodafone, Rs 1.65 crore on Reliance and Rs 1.45 crore on Tata Teleservices. A penalty of Rs 95 lakh was imposed on Idea, Rs 90 lakh on Aircel, Rs 70 lakh on BSNL, Rs 55 lakh on Loop, Rs 15 lakh on MTNL, Rs 5 lakh on Sistema Shyam Teleservices, Rs 35 lakh on Uninor and Rs 10 lakh on Videocon.
He said that during 2015-16 (upto May 31), 6 base tower stations (BTSs) were found exceeding the prescribed radiation limit on actual testing. The number of towers exceeding the limit stood at 103 in 2012-13 and 77 in 2013-14, while none of the towers were found to exceed the limit in 2014-15.
“The penalty for violation of actual EMF radiation norms has increased from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh per BTS per incidence. Instructions in this regard were issued on January 20, 2013,” Prasad said.
The total number of mobile BTSs setup at mobile towers in the country, as on May 31, 2015, stood at 9,08,353. The government in 2012 had lowered the EMF exposure limit from base station or mobile tower emissions to one-tenth of then-existing. In order to ensure compliance to the prescribed norms of EMF radiation from mobile towers, audit of self-certificates being submitted by telecom service providers and BTS sites is carried out by Telecom Enforcement Resource & Monitoring (TERM) field units of Department of Telecom.
In case, any BTS site is found to violate the prescribed EMF norms, actions are taken to put a penalty of Rs 10 lakh per BTS per incidence including closing of BTS site, if the violation persists. Additionally, the BTS sites against which there are public complaints are also tested by TERM Cell.