Various studies show that it is not only humans but also animals and birds that have been affected by radiation of these towers. Disorientation of birds has been reported from Bharatpur bird sanctuary. Migratory birds from Siberia are now landing on new spots every winter and some never reach the destination. Similarly, a study conducted by three departments of Panjab University has found that cell phone towers are the dominating source of electromagnetic radiation in environment and this could lead to diseases in plants and animals. Because of this, butterflies, some insects and birds like sparrows could vanish in coming days, Ansari added.
Although such structures can be seen invariably across the city, but the localities of Old City are dominated by the towers. Kareli, Mutthiganj, Kydganj, Dariyabad, Rajapur, Preetam Nagar and some of the localities dominated by these towers.
“I ask the authorities of these companies, just sleep for one night in my house and feel how it shivers with the vibration of the generator placed on the top of our building. Is it not playing with our life?” questions Sandeep, a resident of Civil Lines. It is just the monetary benefit of one individual which is posing danger for others living in the vicinity of the tower, he added.
It is not only vibration of gensets which is troubling the locals but the weak structure of the building, on top of which these towers are located, is posing danger to life and property. A resident of Bhawapur whose neighbour has rented out his rooftop to a mobile service provider, said: “We are worried that the vibrations might affect the foundation of our house gradually weakening it. How can the authorities be oblivious of the fact that various buildings, having mobile towers on rooftops, are structurally weak and can be damaged by the towers?”
An official of a mobile service provider said there is too much competition in the market and today’s consumer only asks for better network coverage. Cell phone companies contend that if they put up towers at the specified limit, then they would need atleast four towers in place of one, which does not gel with the business plan, he said.
One experiences uneasiness and headache due to radiation of these towers. However, doctors say that this could be purely psychological. Physician SK Shukla said that he has come across many cases where people have complained of uneasiness after talking for long hours on a mobile phone. “I have found that in many cases it is physiological. However, there are an equal number of cases in which such occurrences have happened due to the generation of heat while talking on the mobile, he added.
City town planner of Allahabad Development Authority Swaraj Ganguly said: “There are guidelines, as mentioned in building bylaws 2009, that are meant to be followed but we still don’t have strong teeth to defend them. A fee of Rs 1.25 lakh, a specific height of the rooftop, enclosure of the area of tower and its equipment, the mobile operator and the house owner being responsible in any case of mishap etc are among the guidelines but the same have been challenged in the court.” If someone comes and seeks permission for installing these towers atop hospitals or schools we deny the permission, he adds. The ADA has to check whether the building is authorised and structurally safe, capable of taking the load of the tower and can bear effects of earthquake and strong winds, in accordance with a government order regulating the installation of mobile towers, the CTO added.
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