An increasing number of old, dilapidated buildings are allowing telecom companies to install mobile phone towers on their terraces. Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA) officials said residents are easily swayed by the high rents the telecom firms pay for the towers.
The rent money ensures that tenants don’t have to shell out too much as maintenance costs.
However, the officials said on condition of anonymity as they are not authorised to speak to the media, that the weight of these towers and the vibrations they cause can seriously weaken the old buildings. That apart, there is also the risk of harmful radiation.
“These buildings are ageing, and the weight of these towers can make them crumble,” said an official.
Bapu Khote Street, on which Rahim Manzil stands, has at least three other cessed buildings — Suthriwala Building, Eshwar Bhavan and Khatri Mansion — that have installed mobile phone towers on their terraces.
“Before these towers are installed, a structural engineer needs to give a certificate that says the building can withstand the weight of the tower and its vibrations. However, in most cases, these norms are thrown to the wind,” said an official.
“There are people who don’t even know that mobile towers can destabilise the structure,” said Abdul Shadab, a resident of the area.
A mobile phone tower had been installed on his building too, but it was removed recently.