HC orders removal of mobile towers from sensitive areas

Asks BTRC to monitor and control radiation level 

Staff Correspondent | Published: 01:30, Oct 17,2019

 
 

The High Court Division in a full verdict in the case of mobile tower radiation effect has issued 12-point directives including imposition of a ban on installation of mobile or telecommunication towers on the rooftops of residential area, educational institutions, hospitals, jail premises, heritage sites, playgrounds and places of worship.

The court in the full verdict released on Tuesday, also directed the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to remove all existing mobile or telecommunication towers from the potentially high-risk areas with substantial population density.          

On April 26, a bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir in a short verdict declared as ‘illegal’ installation of mobile or telecommunication towers on the rooftops of residential areas, offices by six mobile operators.

The court had delivered the verdict after hearing a public interest writ petition of Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh.

The full verdict also directed Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to limit emission of radiation at the level as prescribed by International Commission on Non-ionising Radiation Protection.

The court also directed Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to explain to it any impediments and constrains on the availability, acquisition and installation of instruments to ensure that the magnetic fields remained at certain acceptable frequencies. 

The court directed the telecommunication regulatory commission to submit to it a ‘feasibility report’ within four months.

On April 26, Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh filed the writ petition as public interest litigation with the High Court seeking its directives following a media report on the detrimental effects of the mobile towers installed on the roofs of residential buildings and offices.

Earlier, the health ministry’s committee of experts found that radiation emitting from a mobile phone company’s tower was excessive and as such was posing threats to the public health as well as the environment.

The health ministry had submitted its report in compliance with the directive the court had issued in October 2012.

The report of the health ministry’s committee of experts prepared in 2013 had recommended that Telecommunication Regulatory Commission should bring the rate of radiation emitting from the mobile phone towers under its regular monitoring.

It had also recommended framing of the guidelines by the telecommunication regulatory commission to regulate radiation from mobile phone company towers.

According to the report, health ministry’s committee of experts examined radiation emission from 18 towers of six mobile phone companies at Motijheel, Gulshan and Mirpur in the capital.

Supreme Court lawyer Manzill Murshid appeared for Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh, while Reza-E-Rakib for the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and deputy attorney general Kazi Zinat Haq for the health ministry.

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