Thursday, April 13, 2017

SC order a shot in arm for RWAs

Supreme Court order to shut down a mobile phone tower in Gwalior on a plea filed by a 42-year old domestic help has heated up the debate about the supposed harmful radiations emitted by them. The petition had claimed that radiation from the illegal tower installed on a neighbour's rooftop in 2002 had affected him adversely in the past 14 years. 

The SC order has given a shot in the arm to the campaigns of many Residents' Welfare Associations (RWAs) in Delhi who have been opposing these structures for years. 

Dr Kapil Kakkar, RWA president of Jangpura Extension, said that he has filed several complaints with the municipal corporation about installation of mobile phone towers in residential areas. Many residents have now asked him to take up the issue strongly, especially after the SC verdict. 

A guesthouse in our area has a mobile tower for the past 15 years. Residents living nearby are suffering from cancer because of it. Even the guesthouse owner and his mother are suffering from the ailment, but he is unable to remove the tower as the clauses in the agreement cannot be violated," said Kakkar.

The East Delhi RWA president, BS Vohra, took the campaign against mobile towers a step further by checking the radiation emanating from them. "But the companies reduced the frequency that day and we couldn't get a clear reading," he claimed. 

Requesting the government to act strongly, Vohra said that mobile companies "have a strong lobby and they get away despite knowing that radiation from these towers could be harmful. 

RWA president of Mayur Vihar-I Pocket-III, Om Aggarwal believes that the SC judgment will increase the sense of responsibility of telecom companies. However, East of Kailash RWA president, Wing Commander JS Chadda, believes that since many experts say the towers cause no harm, "there is no basis for us to go about protesting against their presence in our areas. 

We started a movement to remove the towers, but stopped as government reports suggested that they have no detrimental effects," Chadda said. 

Rajiv Kakria, RWA President of GK-I, has a different take. "Residential areas shouldn't put up these towers as they are aesthetically not pleasant and there's always a chance of them falling down during storms. " He has asked telecom companies to reduce sound pollution from generators by upgrading their technology. 

with thanks : TOI : LINK

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