A few months ago, worried about the cell towers bristling over the Sahyadri Government Guest House opposite her Malabar Hill residence, actor-producer Juhi Chawla had an independent audit conducted to assess the levels of Electro Magnetic Radiation around her house. “The report was startling,” said the bubbly actor, speaking at a prominent business chamber in the city some months ago. “The radiation levels were higher than the extreme high end of 2000 megawatt per square metre all around my house! This is a cause for concern, not only for my family, but also for all the people living in Malabar Hill. Of course there are similar neighbourhoods throughout the city! I have sent a letter to our Member of Parliament Milind Deora about this problem, and I ask you all to do something to address this serious problem,” she said. She added that safe limits recognized for such radiation was less than 600 MW/sq m.
The auditor, CTIL Techno Solutions Ltd, reported that radio frequency (RF) readings indicated “strong anomaly” i.e. 1000 to 1999 MW/sq m and “extreme anomaly” i.e. Over 2000 MW/sq m around her apartment, and recommended the use of anti-radiation wallpapers and films to minimize exposure. Standards of the International Commission for Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) were applied for making these measurements and recommendations.
Juhi Chawla mentioned how seeing a huge cluster of cellphone towers near Haji Ali Juice Center – a popular South-Bombay hangout -- had made her extremely uncomfortable about how we were living our lives, unmindful of the risks.
At the meeting, however, there were business leaders present, who played down the urgency of the issue, and advocated a slow-slowly approach. It was clear that the loss of business opportunities was a bigger concern to them than cancer risks faced by the common man, and the extinction of keystone species disrupting the ecological balance of the entire region.
From an RTI activist’s point of view, I am putting things into public domain, so that they are known and discussed. We all are aware of the numbers of cell towers multiplying on building terraces and also traffic flyovers. I happen to know that a majority of these towers are not duly licensed by the municipal corporation. A lot of work is required to be done in this area.
In December 2010, Prof. Girish Kumar of IIT Powai, submitted a DETAILED REPORT ON CELLTOWER RADIATION TO DEPTT. OF TELECOM: http://tinyurl.com/Report2DOT-Celltower-radiation
“We had developed radiation shield to absorb undesired radiation but instead of promoting our product, we tried to convince Govt of India to adopt better radiation norms as in India. We had adopted worst radiation norm in the world. Finally, Inter-ministerial report has come and they admitted that there are several health problems due to cell tower radiation,” he says.
UNION INTER-MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE’S REPORT ON RADIATION LEVELS: http://tinyurl.com/Inter-ministerial-cmtee-Report
“If we adopt better Electro Magnetic Radiation (EMR) norms, then you do not have to get the radiation measurement done and also no shielding will be required (will save lots of money for all of you and protect the entire country, human beings, birds, animals, plants, trees, environment, etc).” he adds. His report has a lot of details about how sparrows, bees and other sensitive species are rapidly going extinct due to concentration of cell towers.
Besides being Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department of IIT Mumbai, Prof. Girish runs Wilcom Technologies Pvt. Ltd. which is an IIT- incubated company. His Contact details:
IIT: (022) 2576 7436, Fax - (022) 2572 3707
Wilcom Technologies: (022) 2784 1340, Fax - (022) 2784 1325
Besides Prof. Girish, there are two other points at which a journalist or rti activist can get details of EMR RADIATION READINGS & CELLPHONE CONCENTRATIONS IN VARIOUS PARTS OF MUMBAI, DELHI etc:
• CTIL Techno-Solutions, a Delhi based company, which undertakes research into radiation levels for private individuals. (See this press release: http://tinyurl.com/Celltower-CTIL-PressRelease )
• Its associated company Cogent EMR Solutions Limited (Okhla) 01140506400 (Azadpur) 01127217402
Other Recommended reading material:
1. Exposure Guidelines in various countries: http://tinyurl.com/Celltower-exposure-guidelines
2. Greenpeace India report on Celltowers’ dependence on subsidized Diesel in rural areas: http://tinyurl.com/Celltower-use-subsidy-Diesel