In residential areas: Govt stopped from permitting installation of new cell towers

Notices issued to PTA, EPA and heads of telecom companies


Our Correspondent October 19, 2018
Peshawar High Court. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: The government on Thursday was stopped from issuing permits to put up communication towers for cellular communication in residential areas with notices issued to the respondents by the high court.

The order was issued by a two-judge bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC), comprising Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim while hearing a petition filed by Muhammad Naeem, a resident of the provincial capital.

Filed through his lawyer Noor Alam Khan, Naeem contended that antennas and other communication equipment installed on mobile phone towers flood the air with high-frequency radio waves —known as microwaves — which can have harmful effects on human health.

Noor argued that such towers, installed atop buildings in residential areas and markets, emit microwaves at a frequency of 190 megahertz (MHz) which affect every biological organism within a vicinity of a square kilometer and alleged that it causes a variety of health problems including cardiovascular stress, memory loss, birth defects, cancer, miscarriages, brain tumours amongst others diseases.

However, a common man may never realise the seriousness of this issue.

The petitioner urged the court to direct the government to implement zoning laws made for protecting the environment and ensure that measures are taken under international laws, guidelines and policies for protection from radiation from the base transceiver stations and microwave antennas apart from directions to prevent the installation of towers in residential and market areas.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) chief secretary, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the Environment Protection Agency and the chief executive officers of various telecom companies were included as respondents in the case.

The court stopped the government from issuing no-objection certificates for new towers in residential areas and issued notices to the respondents to file a reply.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2018.

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