Curb cell phone hazards: Deora to PM

by: PTI

January 21, 2005

New Delhi: Congress MP Murli Deora, who was instrumental in the Supreme Court's orders on a ban on public smoking, has now taken up the issue of hazards of cell phone usage, urging the Central government to initiate a legislation in this regard.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Deora said that "we should act before it is too late" as the medical research fraternity around the world was now coming alive to the problem of health hazards from mobile phones and the concern was growing wider.

"The range of health hazards identified by the researchers till now is alarmingly scary and mind boggling", he said adding that "this impending threat renders it imperative for the government to initiate urgent legislation".

He said the legislation should make it mandatory for all cell phone companies to have scientists undertake research to "unambiguously establish that cell phone usage does not expose users to health hazards".

Besides, it should ask mobile companies to carry a statutory warning, as in the case of cigarettes, prominently on the phones and in all their publicity materials pending conclusive evidence one way or the other.

Deora said that cell phone companies should be prohibited from establishing base stations on structures owned and occupied by schools, hospitals and on other such public places.

He wanted that high voltage transmissions from all health care centres and hospitals must be banned by legislation as prevalent in the US and some other countries.

"Our government should at the same time keep a constant vigil on what steps other concerned governments take in the wake of newer research findings and implement them here without delay", he said in the letter, a copy of which was sent to Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss.

Making a strong plea for urgent measures on the issue, he said India was already facing several major challenges like combating HIV/AIDS, tobacco consumption, environmental and hygiene related diseases, night blindness from malnutrition and afflictions caused by "legislation-defying environment polluting industries".

"The cell phone hazard would now seem to add yet another major challenge affecting lakhs of people in view of the phenomenal rise in the demand for cell phones in the country within a short time".

He expressed the hope that given the far reaching implications of the threat, the country's initiative would meet with appreciation from the global community.

Noting that "delay in action in the case of tobacco already stands as an important lesson to be learnt from", he hoped that the Prime Minister will give suitable directions to the Ministries concerned so that they press the cell phone companies for early action.

© 2004 Mid-Day Multimedia Ltd. All rights reserved


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