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Department of Telecommunications launches Portal for Information on Mobile Tower Radiation

The Department of Telecommunications has launched a web portal called the ‘Tarang Sanchar’ web portal that will allow tracking of radiation emitted from mobile towers within their locality and check for their compliance with the Electromagnetic field (EMF) emission norms defined by the government. The web portal is aimed at myths and misconceptions about mobile towers and emissions from them.

Background

Recently, the Supreme Court had ordered the deactivation of a mobile tower in Gwalior after hearing the plea of a 42-year-old cancer patient. The order intensified the debate on the impact of radiation from mobile phone towers on health. However, the government has categorically stated that the mobile tower emissions rules in India are 10 times more stringent than the global norms. These are 10 times more stringent than those framed by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

ICNIRP is the global agency that puts out norms on permissible radiation limits for tower firms worldwide.

The ICNIRP pegs permissible tower emission at 4.5 watts/ sq m in popular 900 MHz band. In India, the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has lowered it to be 0.45 W/sq m.

India’s is among a handful of countries that have tougher emission standards than the ICNIRP norms. The others are China, Russia, Switzerland, Israel, Italy, Greece, Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, Belgium, Chile, Bulgaria and Liechtenstein

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Sanjay Pratihar bags INSA Medal for Young Scientist

Sanjay Pratihar, a scientist at Assam’s Tezpur University, has been selected for the prestigious Indian National Science Academy (INSA) medal for the Young Scientist Award, 2017, for his contribution to “multi-metal complexes, theoretical understanding, selective sensing of Hq2+ions and important applications in agriculture”. Sanjay Pratihar has done his PhD in Organometallic Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. Much of his research work focused on the re-source-efficient design of products and processes which entails maximum utilization of all the products or processes as far as possible.

Sanjay Pratihar had earlier received ‘DST-INSPIRE Faculty’ award in 2012.  The INSA award consists of a bronze medal and a cash award of Rs. 25,000. The award will be presented during INSA’s anniversary meeting scheduled to be held in December.

INSA Medal for Young Scientist

The INSA medal was instituted in 1974 by the Indian National Science Academy. Since then, the medal is awarded annually to honour talented young Indian scientists in recognition of their outstanding contributions in science or technology. The award is considered to be the highest recognition of promise, creativity and excellence in a young scientist. Till date, more than 700 young scientists have been recognised by the INSA awards.

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Maharashtra becomes First State to Use Automated Weather Stations (AWS) for Farmers

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has inaugurated the state’s first automatic weather station at Dongargaon in Nagpur. The state government proposes to install around 2,065 such weather stations across the state on a public private partnership (PPP) mode in this year and 1,000 in next year.

The weather stations will be helpful in measuring the wind direction, wind speed, air temperature, relative humidity and record amount of rainfall.

The information gathered by the weather stations would be shared among the farmers by making them available on Mahavedh portal (Maharashtra agriculture weather information network) as well as on the mobile application of Skymet. Weather forecast firm Skymet Weather Private Ltd will be setting up these weather stations.

Significance

The farmers of the state can make use of the information to manage sowing in a much better and planned way as per the weather conditions. These weather stations are significant because the IMD forecast is limited to only four zones. The weather related information is not made available by the IMD at the level of taluks. But, the AWS will provide forecast up to taluka level. As one weather station will be installed for an area of around 12×12 km, micro-level weather forecasts will be possible.

In addition, the digital kiosks will be set-up in every Gram Panchayat to disburse weather related information and expert advice on crop pattern to the farmers. During the first phase, information will be shared using SMS. In the second phase, half hourly updates will be provided to all the Gram Panchayats. The sensors of the AWS will be able to record important parameters relevant for agriculture like temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, rainfall, solar radiation, leaf wetness, soil moisture and temperature and atmospheric pressure and evapotranspiration.

The state government plans to use the data provided by the AWS to prepare location-specific agriculture advisories, better disaster management, design crop insurance schemes and establish a weather database bank.

 

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