Concerned about the cluster of 16 mobile phone towers over the Sahyadri guesthouse, 40m away from her Malabar Hill residence, actor Juhi Chawla had last year carried out an independent audit of the electro magnetic radiation (EMR) in her nine-storey building Veer Bhavan.
She approached the government when she found that the radiation levels were far above the permissible range.
After a study conducted through the Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cell, the state government claimed that the radiation was within the permissible level.
According to experts, the actor’s concerns are genuine as people living within the 50m to 300m radius of mobile towers are in the high radiation zone.
“At certain points in my house, the radio frequency levels were above 2,000 milliwatt per square meter (mw per sqm) which is above the permissible range of 600 mw per sqm,” Chawla told Hindustan Times.
“The guesthouse said VIPs needed mobile connection at all times and moved the direction of a few of the towers. This just shifted the exposure to someone else.”
In October 2010, Chawla sent the audit copy to former chief minister Ashok Chavan and MP Milind Deora.
It was chief minister Prithviraj Chavan who responded to her on May 24.
The letter said, “The radiation levels are well within the prescribed limits of the Department of Telecom for electromagnetic radiation.”
While Chawla’s study looked at several parameters at different floors and points in the building, the chief ministers letter just mentioned one figure of 1.6 to 25.6 mw per sqm.
IIT professor Girish Kumar from the electrical engineering department said, “Chawla’s house is in the high radiation zone. Also, the reading of 1mw per sqm done by TERM is high.”
“They [officials] must have changed the direction of the towers and hence the lower reading. It also depends on the demand and load at that time.”
The state government is in the process of finalising the guidelines for setting up mobile phone towers and will be looking at areas that are to be ‘no tower’ zones.
Chawla said the government needed to take serious note of radiation in residential areas.