On Thursday, an 85-year-woman in one of the residential colonies near the RBI Governor’s bungalow called up Malabar Hill resident Prakash Munshi after she saw a leading mobile network company erecting a mast near the bungalow.
“The woman was worried about radiation from the Vodafone antenna as her house was metres away. She was more concerned about her family and the other residents in the area than herself. Soon, I got a call from another resident from the area. After speaking to both, I called up the office of the RBI Governor immediately,” said Munshi, who along with actress Juhi Chawla, has been opposing rampant installation of cell towers on the grounds that radiation from them impacted health.
An official from the RBI Governor’s office confirmed the incident. “We do not want to harm or inconvenience anyone. Once we got calls of complaints, the antenna was dismantled,” he said.
A Vodafone spokesperson said, “A resident at one of the buildings at Carmichael Road requested a network booster. However, the customer later withdrew his request.”
In 2010, residents of Usha Kiran building at Carmichael Road had fought for the removal of phone towers in the vicinity after four cancer cases were reported from the colony. Since then, resident associations across the city have been getting together to fight illegal installation of cell phone towers, and ensure emissions are regulated.
“The towers pose a high risk in Mumbai which has a dense population. While telecom companies are not enemies of people, they are responsible for the effect they have on customers. Heating up of cell phones after excessive use and their effect on television sets and computers are indication of what harm it can cause people. We have raised the matter with officials of the environment ministry and are hoping for action as soon as possible,” said Veena Singhal, chairperson of the Pedder Road Residents Association.