In what can be seen as a victory for citizens staying opposite the state guesthouse ‘Sahyadri’ at Malabar Hill in south Mumbai, the state general administration department (GAD) has served notice to mobile tower companies to remove 13 of the 14 cell towers atop the state building within seven days.
These towers had been set up to ensure no call drops in the high-profile area.
“We served the notices following complaints from residents. One tower will be kept functioning with a few boosters so that there are no call drops,” said Sumit Malik, secretary, GAD.
He said after the cell towers are removed, the situation would be re-evaluated.
The issue came to light five months ago when the Hindustan Times reported on July 2 how actor Juhi Chawla, who lives at Veer Bhavan, opposite Sahyadri, had brought the issue to the forefront by getting an electromagnetic radiation study done at her residence.
The study revealed that there were high levels of radiations directly hitting her house.
Following her complaint, residents from nearby buildings, barely 50-metres from the state building, joined her fight and complained to the state and central governments.
Government agencies including the central telecom ministry sent a team to measure the radiation, but found them to be ‘within permissible’ limits.
Unsatisfied with the government, residents started a banner campaign spelling out the ill effects of direct radiation.
Prakash Munshi, resident of Raj Niketan who has initiated a campaign, said this was just the beginning of a bigger movement. “There are other towers around Sahyadri. The next would be to get them off,” he said.