Around eight societies in Borivli’s IC Colony have written to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) against a mobile tower installed in their vicinity. The residents have complained that the tower was installed overnight and poses a major health hazard to people living in the area.
The tower has been installed at a ground maintained by the YMCA and has close to 20 buildings around it. One of the letters by the societies states that the ground is frequented by children, senior citizens and pregnant women, who are likely to be affected owing to the radiation.
Gulab Sarkar, chairman of the New Kanchan Society, one of the societies nearby said, “We have written letters to the ward officer and the Development Plan (DP) department. However, they have said that the tower has been put up according to the central and state government’s orders. If the tower was legal, why would they build it at night?”
Stating that the cell tower has been erected illegally, the residents along with their local corporator protested and stopped the electricity supply for the cell tower.
Abhishek Ghosalkar, Shiv Sena corporator from R/North ward (which includes IC Colony) said, “We are trying our best to get the cell tower removed. Last week, we had protested and removed a cell tower from the Tukaram Omble garden in the same area.”
Following major complaints from residential societies and non-governmental organisations, the Bombay high court (HC) had directed the state government and BMC to not grant any permission for installation of mobile towers in recreational grounds, parks and gardens.
However, officials have cited that there can be many cases where a telecom company would have received permissions from the BMC before the stay was brought in.
VP Chitore, chief engineer of the DP department said, “We can comment on the issue only after verifying the documents. We have to check whether the permission was given before the stay or after.”
In March 2014, the state government had issued a notification allowing mobile towers in open spaces. However, several petitioners took to the court stating that these abysmally low open spaces in the city are used by children and senior citizens for leisure and play.
In the past
This is not the first instance where citizens were up in arms against BMC for allowing a mobile tower in open spaces
In 2014, residents of Bandra had objected to a tower being set up close to the children’s play area in Almeida Park. BMC was forced to remove the tower.
In the same year, residents living near Devidayal garden in Mulund had also raised an objection against a cell tower being installed in the garden