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Reetika Subramanian, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, December 07, 2012
In a story that proves that citizens’ power cannot be dismissed, residents of upscale Carmichael Road staged a protest and got authorities to remove a mobile phone tower that was being installed atop the residence of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Dr D Subbarao on Thursday. “In the morning, I noticed some workers installing a mobile phone tower on top of the bungalow located opposite my house,” said Dilnar Chichgar, a resident of Carmichael Road.

Concerned about the suspected effects of exposure to radiation from mobile phone towers, Chichgar got in touch with several of her neighbours. “I alerted my neighbours, and we decided to approach the authorities together to express our discontent with the installation of the tower,” she said.

Around 15 residents gathered and protested outside the governor’s residence, prompting the authorities to remove the tower within two hours. “Fortunately, they understood our concerns and dismantled the tower immediately,” Chichgar said.

Officials from the RBI governor’s office confirmed the incident, but did not wish to be quoted.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s draft policy states that mobile phone tower operators have to compulsorily seek permission from locals in a residential area before installing a mobile phone tower. The draft policy specifies that there should be a distance of 36 metres between the mobile tower antennae and the
neighbouring residence.

Since July, HT has been carrying a series of reports on mobile phone tower radiations and its effects, the rules concerning the installation of such towers, how citizens can get radiation levels checked and file complaints, among other things. The suspected health hazards of radiation emissions include disturbances, headaches, dizziness, anxiety and, in extreme cases, cancer.

There are more than 1,800 illegal mobile phone towers in the city, which have not been pulled down by the BMC because of the court stay on the demolitions.