Prakash Verma (name changed on request), an Airoli resident, is glad he moved. In May 2012, Verma moved out of his flat in Ghatkopar after his wife was diagnosed with cancer last August. Suspecting that mobile phone towers erected on his building were responsible for the illness, Verma spent around Rs25 lakh to shift to a safer place.
"It was not that easy for a salaried person like me, but I am glad I took the step. My wife is getting treated and surprisingly, there is vast improvement in her health from the time we moved in Airoli," said Verma. But the couple and their two daughters had to get accustomed to a completely different lifestyle. Now, they are living in a relatively smaller home. "My 10-year-old daughters are still adjusting to their school. It will be difficult for them if we move back to Ghatkopar if and when the towers are removed."
Like Verma, several other families in the city are taking precautionary steps - considering relocating homes to be safe from radiation emitted by mobile phone towers.
Reena Patel (name changed on request), another resident, is planning to sell her house in Pali Hill and is not happy about it. "It is saddening that I will have to sell my house just because somebody in the nearby building has put up a cluster of towers on their terrace." Patel has been experiencing headaches, sleeplessness and other symptoms for the past few months. "I know many friends who have been affected by radiation effects. I want to move before these symptoms turn very serious," added Patel.
Many residents want to act soon to escape adverse health-effects. "I don't want to ignore now and regret later. It is frightening to know that radiation can cause brain cancer and multiple other diseases. I might as well take precautions," says Thanush Joseph, resident of Bandra, who is worried about health of his 10-month-old daughter and 4-year-old son.
After getting radiation levels tested at his home in Bandra, Joseph stopped allowing his children to go to the balcony, which recorded the highest radiation level. Joseph and his neighbours are fighting for the removal of towers from a nearby building.