25 Mar 2023  |   04:56am IST

Letters to the editor ( 25 March 2023)

Radiation hazards from cell phone towers

A lot of hue and cry is made about the harmful effects that may result from cell phone towers also called as ‘base transceiver stations’ (BTS). The BTS emit electromagnetic field radiation (EMFR) like those from a microwave oven.

Studies have shown the harmful effects resulting even from low-level radiations, on cell tissues and DNA. Several medical issues such as cancer, depression, Alzheimer, miscarriage, skin diseases etc. could develop and may be visible after a few years.

Now we have a Catch 22 situation. Cell phones are important and BTS are needed for their functioning but what about the EMFR? After detailed studies by various research organisations, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT, India) has limited the EMFR to 0.45W/m2 (watts per square metre). This is 10 times less than the 4.5W/m2 specified by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), an independent non-profit organization. According to the DoT, BTS can be installed in and near schools, hospital, residential sites, and the companies must comply with the conditions else they are penalised in lakhs of rupees. Anyone can approach DoT to measure EMFR in any area after paying a nominal fee. In the portal www.tarangsanchar.gov.in citizens can enter the pin code to check EMFR values in their neighbourhood.   

The DoT has people who measure the EMFR at regular intervals and every year 10% of the BTS installed are audited. We can notice towers crowded in a single place or roof-top to boost and share the signals. This is done by companies to cut costs on new towers. Technically the EMFR values from each antenna may be within prescribed limits but the collective radiation values will surely far exceed the set limits. The DoT should restrict the number of BTS in a place, display radiation values and annually audit at least 50% of the BTS. These tasks may be challenging but are doable for the safety of the people, especially for children as they have thinner skulls and are easily affected by EMFR from towers near parks and schools.

Sridhar D’Iyer, Caranzalem   

Probe shoddy treatment of cops

It is learnt that the government recruited over 500 constables and home guards and deputed them on training to Delhi as Goa

Goa has a lone Police Training School (PTS) at Valpoi.

It is learnt that the new recruits were sent to Delhi after Karnataka and Maharashtra refused to impart training to the Goan cops.  However during the last few days, it was learnt that the condition at the training centre was pathetic and unhygienic. 

Some of the trainees were admitted to the Rao Tularam memorial hospital after they consumed poor quality food and drank polluted water at the training centre. 

The government should look into the matter as it is a question of livelihood and health and it would also be prudent enough to get the cops back home and train them at the PTS in Valpoi.

Raju Ramamurthy, Vasco

Ribandar causeway 

in a despicable state

Due to the never ending greed of those currently in Power, Goa’s capital city Panjim has been driven to the brink of collapse. With no road remaining to be dug, with just a passing shower the entire city would be sinking in grief.

A further concern is that on account of rank negligence by the authorities, a part of the wall of the over 388 year old Panjim-Ribandar causeway which caved in last year at the Ribandar end remains unattended.  This causeway which was once considered the longest bridge in Asia, and is perhaps India’s oldest has been in a perilous state for long.

Built in 1634 for horse-drawn carriages, it has withstood the devastation of decades with all sorts of heavy traffic. In fact in 2016, based on a report of technical experts, the then North Goa Collector had declared this causeway unsafe for heavy traffic and had ordered that traffic be stopped.

But the government has slept over the issue for the last seven long years while the state of the causeway has been fast deteriorating by the day. It is literally hanging on borrowed time and now in a very dilapidated condition. The authorities responsible must be held criminally liable for their wilful neglect of this crucial historic causeway. All the cosmetic repairs by engineering quacks has only been public money down the drain.

Before any major disaster occurs, it is now imperative that traffic movement be immediately restricted on this causeway. The government must act swiftly to carry out necessary remedial measures of this causeway along which one gets an awesome panoramic and scenic view. Restricting it for two wheelers and pedestrian traffic may be the only way forward to save this Portuguese era heritage. 

Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar

Abolish capital 


Whatever said and done, taking someone's life using whatever method is not only cruel but also barbaric. This is also applicable to the Courts that destine the accused to gallows. However, one should not forget that even though many countries have abolished capital punishment and allowed euthanasia to relieve patients suffering from terminal illness and eternal pain, the Supreme Court was not willing to allow free euthanasia considering it also a kind of taking away someone's life and has only legalised passive euthanasia, it should also abolish capital punishment based on the same logic instead of seeking other painless methods to execute the condemned. 

Thacius S Fernando, Chennai

Ban on loud music 

Ban on loud music that loud music pollution disturbs human sensitivity – then there appears to be discrimination as regards implementation of other pollution laws, notably, those relating to vehicular emissions many of which are to be carcinogenic much worse for human health then loud music pollution – without pandering to other noises and pollution is discriminatory against the principles of justice.

Babluis Pereira, Pomburpa

Govt should regulate

fish prices in Goa

Fish in Goa is always sold at astronomical rates and one fails to understand as to why such high rates are charged when the government provides subsidies to fishermen.

Fishermen here mint money by selling fish at sky high prices to hoteliers and even by exporting it while the common man has to settle for the leftovers and very often has to eat fish from other States which is often laced with chemicals.

Fish should not be exported by depriving the sons-of-the soil from enjoying what is 

 caught in their seas. 

The government should also regulate the rates of fish so that the common man enjoys his fish curry rice. It the fishermen fail to fall in line then the subsidy given to fishermen should be stopped.

Ronnie D, Souza,  Chandor


Iddhar Udhar