Living in the shadow of six cell phone towers
For her age, 12-year-old Tannu Srivastav has no qualms about being the object of attention. She continues reading her book even as cameras go on clicking the sign behind her that reads 'CAUTION' written in bold letters.
Along with her family of 10 members and the neighbour's family of five, Tannu shares her rooftop house with not one or two but six mobile phone towers, one of which is a base transceiver station that provides signals to many other nearby towers.
Unaware of the supposed dangers associated with the cell phone towers, she sits at her favourite place to study - the stairs leading up to one of the towers.
The rooms on the rooftops are shared by guards of the commercial complex, Kanishka Complex, that is less than 30 metres from a school and two residential complexes - Nirman Vihar and Samachar Apartments near Mayur Vihar Extension metro station.
Though scientific studies vary in their results of whether or not mobile phone towers are harmful, residents and traders of the complex have started complaining of increased health problems.
Tannu's 10-year-old brother Amul has started urinating blood and father Bindu Srivastav has developed liver problems.
The towers were installed some 12-14 years ago.
"We were told that the towers will help in better reception of signals, so we allowed the property builder to install them. Now we are all living in the shadows of a ticking bomb," said SP Singh, who has an office in the complex.
The traders' association of the complex with support from other residential complexes has been sending requests to the ministry of communication and information technology and the DDA citing high radiation levels but no action has been taken so far.
They now plan to start a signature campaign to take on the mobile phone companies and send them to the municipal corporation, the DDA and the ministry.
"The towers have been built in clear violation of building laws. What scares us most is that they run on diesel and weigh a few tonnes. A high voltage wire runs across the building to provide power to the towers. Such conditions are very dangerous," added Singh.