Mumbai: 4G mobile tower next to Santacruz school evokes ire of parents

A 4G mobile tower next to Santacruz school evokes ire of parents, residents appeal to SoBo activists for help

A 4G mobile tower opposite St. Teresa’s Convent School, Santacruz (W) has parents, teachers and members of nearby housing societies up in arms. The tower, according to school authorities, was set up overnight outside the school’s compound wall last month, without their knowledge.

The 4G mobile tower near the school and residential buildings. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
The 4G mobile tower near the school and residential buildings. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

The school has reached out to SoBo’s well-known anti-mobile tower radiation activists, Prakash Munshi and actress Juhi Chawla, seeking their help in getting the tower removed.

They want Munshi and Chawla to help them contact concerned authorities to get the tower removed.

School staff and the parents of approximately 3,000 students have signed a letter expressing concern. The tower has been set up in the premises of the adjacent Willingdon colony, an old residential area, which has gone in for redevelopment.

“We were very surprised when the tower suddenly came up outside our school. There are several studies that show the adverse effect of radiation. We do not want to put our students at risk. We consulted parents and our staff members and decided to approach Mr Munshi and Juhi Chawla, because we had heard of their work in the field,” said Sister Lillian, school manager.

Munshi said, “I am trying my best to connect the school authorities with the right people. There are so many illegal towers coming up across the city. We are chalking out the course for action if the BMC doesn’t respond to complaints.”

The mobile tower is sandwiched between the school compound and Serenity Buildings. The tower has also invited the ire of Serenity residents.

A Serenity society member, Hitesh D’Souza said that some residents have written to the BMC as well, questioning the tower’s legality. “We were told that the area where the tower has come up violates rules and has been put up illegally. All attempts to reach the owners of the land have been futile,” he said.

South Mumbai-based real estate company, Sumer Builders, own Willingdon Colony land, where the tower has been set up.

A BMC ‘H’ West ward officer also visited the school and housing society to inspect the tower and speak to the residents more than two weeks back, as a result of the residents’ letter to the BMC, said a parent of a student from the school.

“The officer told us he would look into the matter and try to get the tower removed. There has been no communication from the BMC, after that. The health of our children is at risk because of this tower. We want it gone,” said the parent, summing up the sentiment of the parent base.

This reporter tried contacting a Sumer builders representative on phone, with reference to the tower. She was then directed to speak to the chairman, Rahul Shah, who remained unavailable for comment, despite several attempts.

Reaching out to the activists
An excerpt of the letter written by the school to the activists on January 12, ‘We are pained to know that this tower has been allowed to be erected next to our school, which has over 3,000 students. You are well aware of the dangerous health hazards posed by such towers to young children. We therefore request you to look into the matter urgently and direct the authorities concerned to immediately revoke any permissions/licences if given for erecting this tower in the interest of our school children’.

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