To spread the message of ill-effects of radiation emitted from cell phone towers installed in residential areas, residents of Peddar Road took to the streets on Sunday. Under the aegis of Citizens against Health Hazards from Mobile Towers, an awareness campaign-cum-protest was held against the disorderly installation of cell phone towers in their locality.
Demanding stringent guidelines be framed on installation of cell phone towers, Vikram Kothari, a graduate from IIT-Bombay, who joined the campaign, said: "There is a need for standard guidelines to be set by the government to limit power transmissions. We are not against erection of cell phone towers but their number and distance from schools and residences must be regulated".
"The effects from radiation cannot be seen immediately. But it is a well-known fact that high radiation levels can cause cancer," said Rohita Doshi, resident of Peddar Road.
Prakash Munshi, one of the organisers of the campaign, said: "We have represented our demands and concerns to several authorities. Radiation standards must be set by the government taking into account a number of factors such as population and infrastructure. In other countries, local state governing bodies have their own standards for radiation".
In January, these residents noticed that the number of cell phone towers in their vicinity had risen greatly and they decided to measure the radiation levels with the help of a radiation detection device.
"The signals showed that we were in the red zone of high radiation," said Vinod Shah, resident of Ajanta apartments in Peddar Road that is adjacent to Maheshwari Niketan, which installed five clusters of cell phone towers recently with 15-20 antennas.
Shah then filed a right to information appeal with the building proposal department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to seek information about the permissions taken for the towers.