Mumbai: Khar locals' fight against mobile tower takes legal turn

Updated: Jan 09, 2019, 11:29 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Residents of housing societies near Mangal Mahesh CHS shoot legal notice on yet-to-be-installed mobile tower, insist radiation hazardous for health

Residents at a recent meeting where the hazards of mobile tower radiation were discussed. Pics/Ashish Raje
Residents at a recent meeting where the hazards of mobile tower radiation were discussed. Pics/Ashish Raje

Things are cooking at a western suburb with at least 10 housing societies in Khar West trying to stop Mangal Mahesh Co-operative Housing Society Limited (CHSL) from installing a mobile tower with its antenna on the ground plus six building.

In a bid to pre-empt the move, the locals have sent a legal notice dated December 27, 2018, to Mangal Mahesh, BMC H West Department and the mobile operator. Dilip Kejriwal, resident of Mangal Mahesh, acknowledged receiving it. However, this is not the first instance where residents are opposing such a move, because in 2017, at least 12 residential societies in the area had fought a legal battle to have 14 illegal mobile antennas removed from the terrace of the building.

The Mangal Mahesh building in Khar West
The Mangal Mahesh building in Khar West

Legal notice
According to the notice, "Any such installation at the Mangal Mahesh CHSL will be contrary to the guidelines issued by the Department of Telecommunications and Government of Maharashtra." Citing the guidelines, it further says, "There are a number of buildings within a radius of 20-50 metres of Mangal Mahesh. Moreover, all these buildings are taller than Mangal Mahesh. Thus, it's clear that any mobile antenna installed on its terrace will be a violation of the said guidelines. It will also jeopardize the well-being of the residents in the area."

Hazardous radiation
The notice has been sent jointly by Khar buildings Enchante CHSL, Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri West End, Tripathi Balaji CHSL, Jagdambe CHSL and Evershine Jewel CHSL. Anupam Kapadia of Enchante said, "Though only five societies are bearing the legal costs, residents of the other buildings in Khar are also supporting us. I will not let my nine-year-old son and two-year-old daughter live in such close proximity of a mobile tower. Children are the worst affected by EMF radiation. We are not against mobile towers, but this is the wrong location for it."

Speaking about what happened in 2017, he said, "The towers that were set up then were illegal and we had got them removed by December 2017. Now we want to thwart this attempt to set up the mobile tower."

Health scare
Sunita Zaveri from Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri-West End building said that mobile towers were a constant "hindrance to our health." Referring to the earlier towers, she said that her daughter used to frequently complain of headaches.

Anil Matai, chairman, Evershine Jewel CHS, said, "Mobile towers emitting radiation throughout the day have resulted in a few residents of our building experiencing sleep disorders, memory loss, headache, depression and fatigue. My mother, 84, was detected with cancer approximately two years ago, perhaps due to this radiation.

Regulatory bodies like DOT, BMC and the Ministry of Health need to play a pro-active role in such matters." Meanwhile, Kejriwal said, "In 2017, the mobile company did not have valid permissions and hence the towers, antennas and equipment had to be removed. This time the tower will be installed only after the operator gets all the permissions. I am still not sure of the number of antennas the proposed tower would have."

"I have received the notice, but I do not know why residents fear the tower so much. Permission will be granted only after all criteria for safety is met. We are exposed to radiation from our mobile phones and microwaves daily. Can you imagine a life without a mobile tower? I can assure everyone that there is nothing to fear."

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