No Consensus in Fight Against Cell Towers

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MUMBAI: Though Sunday’s meet on the dangers of radiation from cellphone towers attracted nearly 400 residents from across the city, building a consensus on getting rid of the towers, a source of revenue for housing societies, is proving to be difficult.

In Chunabhatti (E), members of a housing society are up in arms against the builder for installing a mobile phone tower on the structure. The tower helps the builder rake in Rs 8-10 lakh every year.

“”Though a housing society was formed last year, the builder still collects remuneration from the cellphone companies. The consent of the residents hadn’t been taken while the towers were being set up. Now, residents want to remove the towers from the building as they are a health hazard and because the two heavy transformers on the terrace could damage the building,”” a building resident said.

The residents of the Chunabhatti building are not the only ones suffering on account of cellphone towers. Surendra Patel (60), a Pali Hill resident, has given up sleeping in his bedroom due to constant headaches and sleeplessness, which he claims are due to the radiation from the cellphone tower on a neighbouring building.

Like Patel, many residents in the H (west) ward in Bandra (W) have complained about health problems like headaches, sleep disorders, memory loss, fatigue, buzzing in the head, miscarriages and cancer and leukaemia.

Prakash Munshi, a Malabar Hill resident who with actor Juhi Chawla was instrumental in getting 13 towers removed in the past, is offering guidance to Bandra (W) residents, who have formed a group – Action Against Cell Towers – under the auspices of the Bandra West Residents’ Association (BWRA).

“”As more residents succumb to the lure of cellphone towers on their terraces in exchange for a pittance from cellphone companies, it is important that they are aware of the side-effects of their decision on all the people living in their own building as well as their neighbours. I lost my sister-in-law in 2008 due to brain cancer and I myself suffer from leukaemia. I cannot prove that this is due to cell tower radiation, but I cannot rule it out either,”” said Daryl D’Monte, president, BWRA, who had earlier spoken about a cellphone tower in a building behind his bungalow.

Cornel Gonsalves demanded help from local corporator Karen D’mello to demolish the two illegal cell phone towers at Winnie Apartments oppsite Perry Cross Road and Joyce Lane building on St Andrews Road.

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