The web portal -- Tarang Sanchar -- has been in the works for a few years now, but its actual launch comes on the heels of a recent Supreme Court order on deactivation of a mobile tower in Gwalior on the plea of a 42-year-old cancer patient.
Over the weeks that followed, the government has been in an overdrive seeking to allay public concerns over radiation emitted from mobile towers, emphasising that studies so far have not revealed any health hazards.
The portal (tarangsanchar.gov.in) gives information on the radiation levels of 4.40 lakh mobile towers and 14 lakh base stations all across the country.
Launching the portal, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said it will empower consumers to know -- at the click of the mouse -- about the towers in a particular area and whether they are compliant with the electromagnetic field (EMF) emission norms as defined by the government.
Users can also search for towers in a particular area and dig out information on technologies and service providers linked to a particular tower.
Dismissing "misconceptions" that mobile towers emit harmful rays, Sinha said the portal will ensure the public has the right information about the radiation from such infrastructure.
"People do not want call drops, and at the same time, they oppose mobile towers. As many as 25,000 studies have been conducted by the World Health Organisation on the issue and none of them found any ill-effects on the health of people," the minister said.
Moreover, the permissible limit of radiation from mobile towers set by India is 10 times more stringent than the global norms, he pointed out.
While users can check whether or not a tower is compliant with the stipulated norms -- for free -- they can also choose to get a tower or base station checked for radiation by paying Rs 4,000.
The telecom department has already approved installation of towers over government buildings and 16 sites in post offices and soon, a decision will be taken to install the same in Cantonment Boards, the minister added. These measures will not only help in spreading digital connectivity, but solve the problem of call drops significantly, he noted.
The minister expressed hope that, in future, the portal will help identify the blind spots (those without connectivity). He further said the initiative is environment-friendly as the submission of tower related information by the telecom service providers happens online.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, industry body COAI Director General Rajan Mathews said that if the industry gets the required permissions, it will look to roll out one lakh towers in the next one year to meet capacity and coverage requirements in the country.