Mobile telephone towers do not pose any health risk, cell operators said Wednesday adding that the expansion of mobile services in the country would be affected if such misconceptions were not cleared.
The myths about mobile towers were coming in the way of installing more towers, especially in residential areas, to provide better services to subscribers, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) director general T.V. Ramachandran said here.
The COAI chose the Punjab circle here to highlight the issue, as it was the fastest expanding mobile circle in the country with an annual growth rate of 23 percent.
Ramachandran said that the growth in this circle was even more than that in the country's four metros - New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
"We are not getting clearances from civic authorities for installation of new towers to provide better services. There has to be a uniform policy, otherwise the cellular network cannot expand," he said.
He was flanked by top officials from leading cellular service providers, including Airtel, Hutch, Idea and Reliance.
Ramachandran said people were raising objections to towers in residential areas even though there has been no case of such towers causing a health hazard.
The COAI quoted studies and findings from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and research agencies of various European and American companies to substantiate the claim that mobile towers were not a health hazard and did not cause cancer.
"Mobile towers use extremely low frequency. Their radiation is in the non-ionising zone and cannot cause any genetic damage to humans," he said.
Structurally too, the towers did not pose any threat to life and property as stringent precautions are taken before their installation, Ramachandran said.
The COAI demanded that clearances for installing mobile towers should be automatic and delays would harm the operators' expansion plans.
There are over 70,000 mobile towers in the country, with more than half of them in cities and towns.
Mobile companies currently have a total subscriber base of 110 million, while they have set the target of having 250 million subscribers by the end of 2007 and over 500 million by 2010-end.
For that expansion, 140,000 mobile towers will be required to be erected by 2007 and 350,000 by 2010.