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Tower companies keen on buying power from renewable energy cos

Last Updated: Sunday, July 8, 2012 - 14:10

Mumbai: Faced with accusations of damaging environment with excessive use of diesel generators to run towers and causing radiation, telecom companies have written to renewable energy producers offering to draw their complete output.

"The umbrella body of telecom tower companies, Tower & Infrastructure Providers Association (Taipa), had two months ago sent a request for proposal (RFP) to seven renewable energy producers like Moser Bayer and ABB among others informing their readiness to buy their entire generation to power our 1 lakh towers," COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews told PTI here over the weekend.

Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) is the representative body of GSM operators.

The Taipa representatives could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

Mathews said though the initial response from renewable energy producers was positive, power companies have some doubts about the viability of such projects and talks are on iron out the issues.

Telecom towers burnt diesel worth crore of rupee last fiscal to run generator sets to supply power to towers, raising concerns over pollution hazards, apart from alleged radiation risks.

On sharing telecom towers Mathews said, "Already 70 percent towers have over two customers and the rest have three to four."

Both Coai and Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (Aupsi) have termed the allegations of radiation threats, as "unfounded and scientifically not proven". Allaying fears of the public regarding radiation threats from telecom masts, which dot both the city skylines as well as the hinterlands, the Coai and Aupsi, citing some independent studies claimed that none of the independent studies have proved these fears.

"There is so much misrepresentation about incidence of brain tumours and use of cell phones. The incidence of brain tumours in the country has been unchanged over the past one decade. Hence, introduction of cellular phones and mobile services does not seem to have increased the risk of brain tumours and cancer," Mathews said in a presentation, citing many independent studies.

He further claimed that radio waves have been in the environment since times immemorial and the same waves used in wireless telecommunications have not been scientifically proven to cause any harmful effects to human health.

"Since we are subjected to greater risks every second, why single out wireless telecommunications," he asked and claimed that "there are also no formal studies that show any adverse effect on growth and development in children. Thus, the benefits of advanced telecommunications far outweigh the risks at present," he said.

Mathews also said strength of radiation received from base stations beyond a few meters is considerably lower than the strength of radiation from radio and television transmitters and that 15 years of studies examining a potential relationship between radio frequency transmitters and cancer have not provided evidence that exposure to mobile towers increases the risk of cancer.


First Published: Sunday, July 8, 2012 - 14:10
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