Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cell towers likely sources of radiation, disease: Report

Publication: The Times Of India Mumbai; Date:2010 Dec 07; Section:Times City; Page Number 2

Cell towers likely sources of radiation, disease: Report

Study For DoT Says India Should Tighten Norms


Mumbai: Cellphone operators have long denied their transmitting towers atop buildings or on highways have any adverse bearing on the health of humans or animals, despite several studies across the world concluding the contrary. Now a report for the Department of Telecommunication by a faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, reinforces what scientists have long held—that areas around cellphone towers are highradiation and consequently highrisk zones. Moreover, it recommends that ndia, which has very “relaxed radiation norms’’, must raise the safety bar.

Girish Kumar, professor, electrical engineering department of the Powai institute, who visited rooftops of several buildings and measured radiation on places with cell towers mounted, said: “These towers transmit radiation 24x7, so people living nearby will receive 10,000 to 10,000,000 times stronger signal than required for mobile communication. In India, crores of people reside in these hig radiation zones.’’

Kumar noted the cell phone industry was becoming “another cigarette industry, which for long kept claiming smoking is not harmful. In fact, cellphone/tower radiation is worse than smoking as one cannot see it or smell it, and its effect on health is noted after a long period of exposure.

Unfortunately, all of us are absorbing this slow poison unknowingly.” For instance, Kumar visited the apartment of a lady detected with cancer a year after a cellphone tower was installed in the vicinity. A hand-held broadband radiation monitoring device, taken near the windows, detected radiation levels were around 0.007069 W/m2. India has adopted a radiation norm of 4.7 W/m2, but the study noted serious health effects at as low a level of 0.0001 W/m2. Though India adheres to the radiation density limit set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), Kumar observed Indians faced an added threat: radiation from multiple towers. “One should know the actual radiation pattern (unfortunately not made public) to calculate exact radiation density at a point,’’ he noted. One of the first steps he recommended was tightening radiation norms and reducing number of towers. Many countries in the world have adopted much stricter maximum radiation density values of 0.001 to 0.24 W/m2.


Cancer Risk

Use of mobile phones for more than years poses a risk of brain cancer. Children and teenagers are five times more susceptible as their brain is not fully developed and radiation penetration is much deeper Infertility Studies confirm cell phone radiation can
drastically affect male fertility. Studies have found 30% sperm decrease in intensive mobile phone users, in addition to damage of sperms Neurodegenerative Diseases

People living near mobile phone base stations are also at risk of developing neuropsychiatric problems as headache, memory loss, nausea, dizziness, tremors, muscle spasms, numbness, tingling, altered reflexes, muscle and joint paint, leg/foot pain, depression, and sleep disturbance. More severe reactions include seizures, paralysis, psychosis and stroke

Skin Damage

Radiation from cell towers and mobile phones affects human skin. It can result in an increase in mast cells, leading to the clinical symptoms of itch, pain, edema and erythema. It also may be instrumental in higher concentration of the transtyretin protein, which has an important role in causing nervous diseases like Alzheimers

Interference With Other Gadgets

Radio frequency exposure from cellular phone base antennas and mobiles can affect patients with pacemakers, implantable cardiovascular defibrillators and impulse generators Melatonin Reduction

Melatonin, a vital neurohormone, regulates our circadian rhythm. Studies with animals show a reduction in melatonin levels following radio frequency radiation exposure from cell phones and cell towers. Turning off transmitters resulted in a significant increased
melatonin levels within few days

Ear & Eye Damage

Radiation emitted by mobiles may damage the delicate workings of the inner ear, and longterm and intensive use for more than four years and for longer than 30 minutes a day creates high risk of irreversible hearing loss. Frequent use of mobiles can also damage the visual system

Sleep Disorders

Use of handsets before going to bed delays and reduces sleep, and causes headaches, confusion and depression. The findings are especially alarming for children and teenagers as they use cell phones at night and keep the phone next to their head, it may lead to mood and personality changes, depression, lack of concentration and poor
academic performance


At a farmhouse near Delhi-Gurgaon toll naka, with 4 cell towers, the owner said output of most fruit trees drastically reduced in two years Residents of Usha Kiran, Carmichael Rd, alleged 3 cell towers on neighbouring Vijay Apts, subject them to maximum radiation

At Khar bridge, power density and radiation was way above the permissible limits.

Email to Shri Chandrashekhar, Secretary, DOT

From: Prof. Girish Kumar

To: mrciin@yahoo.co.in; bemsons@yahoo.com
Sent: Mon, December 6, 2010 12:30:31 PM

Subject: Cell Tower Radiation Report - sent to Secretary, DOT, Delhi

Dear Ramesh,

Last week, I had gone to Delhi and met Shri Chandrashekhar, Secretary,
DOT on Dec. 3, 2010 and subsequenty sent him the following email.

Please go through the attached report and do the needful.

The report has been also uploaded at the following site:


With regards.


Girish Kumar
Professor, Electrical Engineering Department
I.I.T. Bombay, Powai, Mumbai - 400076, INDIA
Tel. - (022) 2576 7436, Fax - (022) 2572 3707
email- gkumar@ee.iitb.ac.in


Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2010 11:26:48 +0530 (IST)
From: Prof. Girish Kumar
To: secy-dot@nic.in

Subject: Cell Tower Radiation Report

Dear Shri Chandrashekhar,

It was nice meeting you in your office on Dec. 3, 2010. As discussed,
I am sending you Cell Tower Radiation Report prepared by me after going
through 100's of papers and interacting with large number of people.

In Section 7, I have included Possible Solutions to reduce the ill effects of
cell tower radiation.

After meeting you, I went to the farm house near Delhi-Gurgaon toll naka,
where 4 cell towers are installed. The owner of the farm house told me
that the output of most of the fruit bearing trees has drastically
reduced in the last 2 years.

Please take immediate steps to adopt tighter radiation norms to save
humans, animals, birds, environment and mother earth.

With regards.


Girish Kumar
Professor, Electrical Engineering Department
I.I.T. Bombay, Powai, Mumbai - 400076, INDIA
Tel. - (022) 2576 7436, Fax - (022) 2572 3707
email- gkumar@ee.iitb.ac.in

Chairman, Wilcom Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
B-421, City Mall, Sector - 19, Vashi-Turbhe Road
Vashi, Navi Mumbai - 400 705, INDIA
Tel. - (022) 2784 1340, Fax - (022) 2784 1325

email - prof.gkumar@gmail.com


Government to frame rules for mobile towers

Publication: The Times Of India Mumbai; Date:2010 Dec 08; Section:Times City; Page Number 13

Government to frame rules for mobile towers

The government is collecting feedback from concerned departments for framing comprehensive rules and regulations for installation of mobile
towers by cellphone service providers in the state, CM Prithviraj Chavan
stated in a written reply to the state assembly on Tuesday.

‘‘The rules will be finalized soon,’’ Chavan stated in response to the query
raised several members in the House.

A multi-member committee, set up on March 20 this year, under the
additional secretary (health) to study the effects of the electromagnetic rays
emanating from cellphone towers, had recommended various measures
including framing of rules and regulation for mobile towers. The committee
furnished its report to the government on August 6.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Letter to Mr. Milind Bembalkar

Mr Milind Bembalkar,

‘Parijat’, Guru Krupa Colony,
Ambejogai Road, Latur 413531


I have come to know about you from Mobile Tower Grievance Forum. Since last two years I’m facing lot of problem due to the installation of a roof top mobile tower. The problem I am described you briefly.

I’m a resident of Barasat (under Barasat Municipality ), Kolkata 700126, West Bengal . A powerful rooftop mobile tower is situated just within 10 m of my house of different Service provider. In the year 2009 BSNL has started two install another tower just 5 m far away from my house. Local people had submitted their bjection to Barasat Municipal Authority, District Magistrate, Police In charge of Barasat Thana of West engal Police. I personally meet with Chairman, Barasat Municipality to stop the work because I am the most sufferers in this situation. Then I had submitted my objection to West Bengal Pollution Control Board. Pollution Control Board arrange a hearing and it was found that guide lines to erects Mobile Tower , which was issued by WB Govt., was not followed properly in this case. Moreover no BSNL representative was present. A false consent letter of unknown people was submitted to Municipal Authority to opt the permission. After that they stopped the work and directed to BSNL to submit all relevant document to Municipality.

Presently BSNL has started the tower without any consent letter, without maintaining the guideline of Circular issued by West Bengal Govt. Nobody takes any action in same. I informed every where that BSNL violet the following point issued in the order

WB Govt declared that EMR has bad effect on human body, so why BSNL has again started to install 2nd tower. The BSNL office is approx 800 m from the effected area. It is better to install the tower at BSNL office only.

WB Govt ordered that tower can not be installed in School premises because it affects children more. In my house a new born bay is present. How can I survive him?

WB Govt advised to install one tower in a locality an share the same tower. Within 1 km from my house at least 15 nos of tower present. No need to install a new tower I same locality.

Approach of fire tender is nil. So how can we survive if any disaster will occur?

Without consent of local people how BSNL install their tower.

Most interesting point is when I asked through RTI to Municipality that how BSNL got permission though they are not followed the rules; the answer was “Municipal Authority looks after only the structure stability of house upon which the tower will be installed. Pollution Control Board looks after only the pollution regarding Generator set use in the tower.

Human Rights told me that they are not entertained this type of problem.

Public Grievance Cell, Govt. of India, does not take any action.

West Bengal Municipal Authority is not awarded about the pollution and health hazardous problem with Electro Magnetic radiation.

BSNL comments that without tower how they can provide service to their customer?

In view of that I requeted you give me some advise how I can fight against the installation of Mobile Tower.

Wait your valuable comments.

Arunava Choudhury
3, Pratapaditya Road,
11 No Rail Gate, Nabapally
Barasat, Kolkata 700126
West Bengal

Friday, November 5, 2010



(Indian Valuer Oct.2010)

Page No. 1186 To 1188

S.R. Ramamurthy


Retd. Engineer-in-Chief


1. Erection of Cell Phone Towers:

Erection of cell phone towers is spreading an epidemic in Hyderabad City. For correct numbers one has to guess between 1,300 to 5,000. Initially Govt. permitted vide memo No. 8463/M1/98-1 dt. 16-04-1998, various cellular, tele services and telecom companies to erect their roof top towers, ground based towers, its equipment etc. without obtaining permission from the respective Urban Development Authorities or Municipal Corporations or Municipalities etc. Those orders were extended on 30-03-2001, 10-05-2001, 27-02-2002, 16-06-2004 and 01-08-2006. Those orders were quashed by the Hon. High Court of AP in W.P.No. 23228 of 2007 dated 31-12-2007.

The Govt. therefore, issued order vide G.O. Ms.No.183, MA&UD (M) Dept. dt. 27-02-2008 based on which all cellular companies have to obtain permission from the respective local authorities for the existing as well as proposed installations.

This article deals with those Govt. order’s public complaints and this author’s suggestions for valuation of buildings with cell phone towers.

2. Guidelines for according permission:

Taking into account the AP High Court’s directions, the AP State Govt. formulated the following guidelines to be followed by the local authorities while according permissions to be existing and the proposed land based and roof top installations vide G.O.Ms. No. 183, MA&UD(M) Dept. dt. 27-02-2008

o The applicant to obtain necessary approval of the Air Traffic Controller of the Airport Authority of India.

o The applicant shall take precautions for fire safety and lightning etc.

o The applicant shall furnish a legally valid undertaking that they are solely responsible for any damage to the building and for public safety.

o The applicant shall furnish “ from the surrounding building owners and from the concerned building owner, in case of roof top installations within their jurisdictions and in case any structure is found endangering the building or the lives of the residents, action shall be taken in accordance with law to remove such structure.

o The GO does not specify that the applicant shall enclose the structural stability calculation of the building as well as the tower. The GO is defective, as it had shown importance to legal, environmental and social aspects but omitted technically essential structural safety calculations and certificates.

The Chief Engineer, MCH was stated to have empanelled the engineers from the Osmania University, Jawaharlal Nehru Techonological University, Chiatanya Bharathi Institute of Technology and MJ College Of Engineering to issue structural stability certificates. A fee of Rs. 25,000 per structure was also stated to have been specified as a consultation fee to be paid by the cell phone companies to the engineers.

Similarly the other local authorities may have to empanel their engineers for issuing structural stability calculation and certificates.

It is suggest by this author that the local authorities pay the consultation fees to the empanelled engineers directly as if the structural stability of the building and the tower are jeopardized, the companies may not pay the consultation fees to the engineers. The local authorities may collect the required amount from the companies while receiving the applications.

In spite of the Govt. orders, permissions are the stated to have not been obtained by the companies.

3. Nature of complaints

The complaints are of two types. Certain complaints expressed by the public relate to structural defects of the building over which the tower was installed and other complaints relate to health hazards due to electromagnetic waves from the towers.

In Kapra Municipality, Hyderabad, a 10MT Reliance tower was stated to have caused cracks in a five storeyed building ultimately, on intervention of the Hon. High court of AP, the tower was dismantled during February 2008.

Vodafone cell tower at Ashoknagar, Hydeabad caught fire due to short circuit as a photo at page 5 of Deccan Chronicle, an English daily from Hyderabad city dt: 30-04-2009.

At page 19 of Deccan Chronicle dt: 07-03-2009, it was reported that Hyderabad city doctor had attributed headaches, fatigue and nausea to exposure to electromagnetic wavees. According to Prof. V.M. Pandhari Pande, a Director of Center for Excellence in Micro Waves Engineering, Osmania University, Hyderabad, who has done extensive research on this subject, the dangers are for more serious than we imagine viz. exposure to electromagnetic waves generates heat in the body, affect the enzyme system, cause mutation of DNA, protein structure and cell membranes.

However, according to Telecom Regulatory Commission of India, there was no conclusive study to confirm that health was adversely affected by cell phone radiation. Hon. High Courts of Kerala, Haryana and Punjab were also stated to have dismissed these allegations.

Fire Dept. of AP was stated to have suggested to install towers in open lands.

4. Huge hoardings :

A huge hoarding at Nampally fell on a car and two wheelers as reported in Deccan Chronicle at page 4 on 20-05-2009. Similarly a hoarding on the top of an apartment at Chapel Road, Addagutta, another at Attapur and third at I-max near Necklace Road were reported to have fallen, vide a report at page 3 of Deccan Chronicle dt.21-05-2009.

It was also reported that the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (MCH) has no data about hoardings that were structurally stable. According to the report, about 500 unauthorised hoardings were existing in city. The MCH was stated to have framed rules regarding size of the hoardings etc. but they are not being complied with.

Sri S. Krishnamurthy’s article at page 1066 of Sept. 2008 Indian Valuer deals in calculation of rent for erected hoardings, ATMs, and mobile tower in open lands.

Similarly rent can be calculated for hoardings and tower on terraces of buildings based on this author’s article on “Valuation of terraces of buildings by different authors” at page 662 of june, 2008 Indian Valuer.

Hoarding may not affect the valuations of the buildings over which they are erected, but stability aspects require to be considered by the competent authority, while according permissions.

5. Valuation of buildings with cell phone towers:

Recently valuation of a building near Ali CafĂ© at Amber pet, Hyderabad was referred to this valuer. On its second floor terrace, a Reliance tower installed at a monthly rent of Rs. 10,000/-. Though in live the valuation report it was mentioned that the installation was without permission from the MCH, without permission from the structural stability verification and without obtaining “No Objection Certificates”(NOCs) from the neighbors, the loan was sanctioned.

As valuers we may not be interested in health hazards due to cell phone towers, but stability and safety of the building and tower may influence the valuations.

Normally the rent from the cell phone towers on the terraces of the buildings should increase its rent capitalization value. But in view of the risks associated with un-stable towers and fire accidents due to short circuits etc. as valuers, we may consider only.

o 50% of building valuation, if permission from the competent authority only is available covering the risk involved due to erection of the towers,

o balance 50% valuation may be released only if insurance for the building is available covering the risk involved due to erection of towers,

o the bank may be advised to treat the valuation as nil, if the erection of the tower is unauthorized.

These are however purely, this author’s suggestions.

In future, the author wants to adopt the above guidelines and advise the banks to seek another property for collateral security, in case the tower is unauthorized and without insurance coverage.

This author further feels that it is high time that an ACT is either enacted by the State or the Centre and rules framed there under for implementation.

-------------------------------- THE END ----------------------------------------------

Friday, October 29, 2010


Milind Bembalkar,

‘Parijat’, Guru Krupa Colony,
Ambejogai Road, Latur 413531

Date: 22.1.2010


The application complaining about mobile tower may be sent to the concerned Chief Executive Officer of the Municipality, Concerned Municipal Commissioner, or Sarpanch, Tahsildar, Grampanchayat and District Collector Office respectively of the area concerned.

The copies of the complaint application may please be forwarded to :

• Ward Officer of the area.

• Circle Office of the Mahavitaran Karyalaya (Electricity Office) of the area.

• The Principal Secretary-1, Urban Development Department, 4th floor, Mantralaya, Madam Cama Road, Mantralaya, Mumbai 400 032.

• District Office of the Environment Control Board.

• Officer-inCharge of the local police station.


1. The erection of a mobile tower on a residential building violates the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which deals with the right of citizen to live in peace.

2. Further it is binding on the concerned mobile companies want to erect mobile tower, to ensure that 1.5 times square area in relation to the height of the tower, is free from all safety hazards . (Reference Pune Municipal Corporation Circular dated 26.11.2007, agenda No. 6/207, dated 27.11.2007 and Order No. TPS 1806 dated 7.8.2007 of UDD, Government of Maharashtra, Mantralaya, Mumbai).


If the height of the tower is 120 feet (approximately 12 floors of the building), then 1.5 times square area means 120 x 1.5 = 180 square feet area. The concerned agency is under obligation to obtain NOC from the people residing in 180 square feet area before erecting the mobile tower.

3. The mobile towers erected without permission from local bodies (Gram Panchayat, Municipality or Municipal Corporation etc.) are illegal.

Reference: Writ Petition No. 7396 of 2008, Vodafone Essar Ltd. V/s State of Maharashtra & Ors., High Court, Mumbai. Coram : Bilal Kazi & J. H. Bhatia J.J. dated 12.11.2008.

The Supreme Court of India confirmed the decision of Mumbi High Court and disposed off the Special Leave Petition (SLP)(Civil) No. 27480 of 2008, Vodafone Essar Ltd. V/s State of Maharashtra dated 28.11.2008.

4. It is binding on the mobile companies to strictly follow the rules & regulations of local bodies and state government (Reference : Letter No. K-19012/1/RT/2009-CFA dated 18.5.2009 of Ministry of Transporattion, Sanchar Bhavan, New Delhi).

5. A committee under the chairmanship of Dr. N. K. Ganguly (Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi) to study :

(a) How to avoid health hazards being caused due to radiations from mobile towers,

(b) What measures should be taken to study and conduct research in the matter,

Was appointed by the Government of India, Ministry of Health & Welfare, New Delhi as per the orders of the Supreme Court of India in Writ Petition No. 2112 of 2004, Shri Farukh Contractor V/s Government of India).

The I.C.M.R., New Delhi submitted its report to the Health Ministry, government of India on 29th March 2006. It is laid down in the said report that

a. That, if the height of the mobile tower is 36 meters (120 feet or equal to 12 storied building approximately), then the people moving/commuting below the tower will not suffer from radiations but those coming in close vicinity of the tower may suffer.

b. It is further submitted in the report that complaints about insufficient sleep and proper rest, memory or hearing disorders etc. have been received from the people residing and/or working in the vicinity of mobile towers and that there is a need to conduct research in the matter, for which, sufficient funds should be made available.

For want of adequate research in the matter Dr. Ganguly has advised to take precautionary measures. In short, if there is a possibility of causing irreversible loss by some act or decision, then in the absence of any scientific evidence, the liability to give evidence shall lie upon the person doing the act or taking the decision and that the responsibility of taking preventive measures shall also lie on such person and that the person causing pollution (Radiation, e-smog, Radio Frequency Radiation) will be liable to pay the compensation (Reference : Vellor Citizen Forum V/s Government of India, 1996(5) S.S.C.P.P. 246, para 65 and Andhra Pradesh Pollution Board V/s Professor M. V. Naidu 1999(2) S.S.C. 718).

On the basis of ‘precautionary’ principle, the court in France ordered and caused to remove the mobile tower erected on a building by the Boigus mobile company on 6th March 2009, because the concerned mobile company failed to furnish evidence tp prove that the mobile tower is free from all hazards and safe.

It is observed that the courts through out the world have adopted the principle of ‘Precautionary Measures’ in the cases of mobile towers. The Courts & Scientists are always in search of truth but the only difference between them is that the findings of the scientists may change, the finding may be uncertain due to inadequate information and therefore, proper analysis of the subject matter is not possible. On the other hand the courts are required to issue orders and settle the disputes by taking into consideration the overall welfare of the public in general.

6. The people residing in the vicinity of mobile towers should always incorporate the indemnity term regarding health and accident, fire due to short circuit, tower collapse etc. and damages, in the agreement with mobile companies erecting the mobile towers.

The people are advised to think seriously and take appropriate decision keeping in mind their own health.

Milind Bembalkar

094226-56058 / bemsons@yahoo.com

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wildlife dept’s nod must for new cell towers


Wildlife dept’s nod must for new cell towers

Thiruvananthapuram: In view of the possible ill-effects of radiation from cellphone towers on animals, the telecommunications department has decided to ask mobile operators to obtain clearance from the wildlife division of the environment ministry. 
    A telecommunications official spoke about this plan at a meeting of an experts’ committee formed by the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to study the possible impact of telecom towers on wildlife, Sainudeen Pattazhy, a member of the panel, said. 
    Mobile phone operators are already required to get clearance from defence and civil aviation authorities for installing towers in areas which have a bearing on their operations. 
    “Quite a few studies have pointed out that radiation from mobile towers harmed wildlife. So, it is important that telecom operators get clearance from the wildlife department before erecting towers, especially in areas close to forests, parks and zoos,” Pattazhy said. AGENCIES

Friday, October 15, 2010



In order to have a full scale debate to discuss on the issue of “Mobile tower”, and to hear the complaints of those who have suffered of health hazards due to radiations, a workshop is organized:

Radiation Threats from CELL TOWER Masts EMR – Health Implications and Awareness

Sunday, 17 October 2010 at 11:30 am

Presented by Mr. Hari Shetty

Organised by Centre for Community Organisation (CCO)


The Community Centre Sacred Heart Church, Mahakali Caves Road, Opp Canossa School, Andheri(E), Mumbai 400093

A platform will be available for those affected by radiation from mobile tower, scholars from the field of environment, news reporters, MLA’s & MP’s to discuss the issue and come out with suggestions that could be valuable for making rules and regulations regarding erection of mobile towers.

Friday, September 17, 2010

MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DELHI - Office order No. TP/G/6901/10 dated 8.4.2010


Office order No. TP/G/6901/10 dated 8.4.2010


SUBJECT : Permission for Installation of Temporary Structures for Cellular Mobile Phone Services on roof Top / Ground Level or various Premises falling in the Area under Jurisdiction of Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

In supersession of all earlier orders on the subject mentioned above, Permission / License for installation of temporary structures on Roof Tops / Ground level of various premises for Cellular / Basic Mobile Phone Services shall be accorded as per the policy approved by the Corporation vide Item No. U.B. No. 392 dated 16th March 2010, earlier approved by the Standing Committee vide Resolution No. 722 dated 09.02.2010 and para 25 modified vide in anticipation approval from Chairman Standing Committee dated 29.03.2010 and Hon’ble Mayor (for Corporation) on dated 06.04.2010, subject to the following conditions :

1. For installation of Base Station Antennas, clearances is required from Airports Authority of India, DUAC, Chief Fire Officer (DFS), ASI & DMRC (wherever applicable)

2. Structural stability certificate from any one of the following five institutions are required to be obtained by the Cellular and

Basic Cellular Operators:-

a) Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi.

b) Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee.

c) Rail India Technical & Economic Services Ltd. (RITES), 

d) National Council for Cement & Building Material, 34 KM Stone, Delhi, Mathura Road, Faridabad (Haryana).

e) Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee.

3. In case of building which were unauthorized or which may be so declared at a later point of time, permission for installation
of tower shall be granted on fulfillment of all the conditions.

However, that shall not imply any change whatsoever in the status of the unauthorized building and shall be without prejudice to the right of MCD to demolish the said building through the due process of law. While undertaking such a demolition, MCD will not be under any obligation to send prior intimation to the owner of the tower, nor will it be liable for loss of the tower as a consequence of demolition of the unauthorized building. The operators shall indemnify MCD to this effect.

4. The licenses shall share the towers for fixing their respective antennas provided that the prescribed conditions are duly fulfilled so as to ensure curtailing of multiple towers and optimizing the use of the existing ones.

5. Priority of Selection of site shall be as under :

a) All Municipal Buildings including Community Centres, except schools, hospitals & dispensaries.

b) Other Government Building,

c) Other Non-Residential buildings i.e. Industrial, commercial & institutional buildings,

d) Along the right of way of major drains after clearance from DEMS of MCD.

e) Vacant land after clearance from concerned authority.

f) i) Residential vacant plot leaving 3M setback all round.

ii) Residential buildings,

Note : Erection of Cell Tower on residential buildings shall only be allowed in those case where no alternative is available.

iii) Group Housing.

6. Fees :

Rs. 5 Lacs per tower plus.

Rs. 1 lacs per service provider in case of sharing.

7. For Municipal Building Rs. 25/- per sq. ft. per month shall be charged towards license fee for the space to be used for erecting the temporary structure subject to a minimum of Rs. 25,000/- per month. License fee shall be payable for three months in advance and thereafter by 10th day of each month.

Any Cell Operator desirous to erect tower on any Municipal Building or land will make an application to the land owning agency i.e. to the office of ADC (L & E) for Municipal Buildings and to the Estate Department of Slum & JJ for their buildings and also execute an agreement for license fee as mentioned above.

The license fee shall be deposited in the office of ADC (L & E) and Estate Department of Slum & JJ, as the case may be.

i) No objection from the concerned department having its administrative control on the building /and where erection of Cell Tower is proposed.

ii) No objection from Engineering Department from structural safety point of view. In case, the Engineering Department is not in a position to certify the structural safety aspect, the same could be got examined by Cell Operators from the Institutes already identified and approved for private building.
Once the agreement for license is entered into, Cell Operator can apply for a permission to the EE (Bldg.) of concerned Zone, who will process the case for grant of permission in accordance with the guidelines issued.

8. That Cell Operator shall be solely responsible for any damage to the building and for public safety.

9. That Cell Operator shall take special precautions for fire safety, lightening etc.

10. That Cell Operator shall furnish to Assessor & Collector, MCD a copy of the agreement executed between the Cellular or Basic Telecom Operator and the owner of the building.

11. Generator sets installed at the tower site to cater to the power requirements of the antenna should conform to the noise and omission norms and other requirements prescribed by DPCC.

12. That Cellular & basic Telecom Operators shall produce a certificate from the Manufacturer of D.G. set to the effect that set installed meets the following Standards and

Guidelines as as laid down in the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 as notified by Ministry of Environment and Forest vide its notification dated 14th February, 2000.


The total sound power level, Lw of a DG set should be less than 94+10 log10 (KVA), db(A), at eth manufacturing stage, where KVA is the nominal power rating of a DG Set.

This level should fall by 5 db (A) every five year, till 2007 i.e. in 2002 and then in 2007.


Noise from the DG Set should be controlled by providing an acoustic enclosure or by treating the room acoustically.

The acoustic enclosure / acoustic treatment of the room should be designed for minimum 25 (dB(A) Insertion loss or for meeting the ambient noise standards, whichever is on the higher side (if the actual ambient noise is on the higher side), it may not be possible to check the performance of the acoustic enclosure / acoustic treatment. Under such circumstances the performance may be checked for noise reduction upto actual ambient noise level, preferably, in the right time. The measurement for insertion loss may be done at different points at 0.5m from the acoustic enclosure/room, and then averaged.

The DG set should also be provided with proper exhaust muffler with insertion loss of minimum 25 dB(A). To ensure the compliance of Guidelines at user end, Cell Operators will furnish noise – monitoring report from DPCC.

14. The Operator shall ensure to prohibit the access to base station antenna sites for general public by suitable means such as wire fencing, locking of the door to the roof etc., access to tower site even for maintenance personnel should be for a minimum period as far as possible.

15. Installation of Base Station Antennas shall be allowed only on:-

a) The buildings which abuts on minimum 9.00 M wide road in order to reduce the risks caused by any earthquake or wind related disaster.

b) The existing sites of the Cell Towers abutting on roads having ROW less than 9.00 M could only be regularized after the specific clearance from the Fire Department regarding the width of the road.

16. The Base Station Antennas should be at least 3 m away from the nearby building and antennas should not directly face the building. Further, the lower end of the antenna should be at least 3.00 meter above the ground or roof.

17. In case of multiple transmitter sites at a specific locality sharing of a common tower infrastructure should be explored, as far as possible which can be coordinated through a nodal agency.

18. Access to base Station Antenna sites should be prohibited for general public by suitable means such as wire fencing, locking of the door to the roof etc. Access to lower site, even for the maintenance personnel, should be for a minimum period as far as possible.

19. Sign boards / Warning signs are to be provided at Base Station Antenna sites which should be clearly visible and identifiable. A warning sign should be placed at the entrance of such zone.

20. The ‘Warning Sign’ should discourage longer stay in the zone, even for the maintenance personnel. The sign board may contain the following text :

i) Danger ! RF radiations, Do not enter.
ii) Restricted Area.

21. The operators and maintenance personnel, who are dealing with radio frequency devices, specially with Base Station Antenna installed on towers and at any other outdoor sites, should be protected from electromagnetic radiations. The operator and maintenance personnel dealing with the radio frequency devices should be properly educated for possible hazards and for taking measures for protection from electromagnetic radiations when & where required.

22. Submission of an undertaking from the Operator that installation of Cell Tower does not cause any adverse effect to the health of human being of the area and MCD shall be kept harmless out of this.

23. The operator shall display on board (minimum size 24” x 48’) at conspicuous space of the building at Ground Floor, the following details :

i) Operators name and address

ii) Contact persons name, address and Telephone number

iii) Address of Complaint Redressing Authorities with Telephone Numbers.

iv) Police Control Room : 100

v) Fire Control Room : 101

vi) Ambulance : 102

vii) Any other important information, if any

viii) Details of Insurance policy.

24. In case of any complaints against such tower construction, the same shall be referred to the office of Director / General Cellular Operators Association of India and Secretary General, Association of Basic Telecom Services, to investigate the complaints and to take remedial measures wherever necessary.

25. The operators, who have erected cell towers without permission, shall apply to MCD for regularization within 30 days, as per earlier policy in force, prior to implementation of this new policy after obtaining NOC from ASI & AAI wherever applicable. NOC from R.W.As shall not be insisted upon and the fee shall be paid as per the new policy. In case of noncompliance, action for removal of Cell towers shall be initiated as per Law. The existing towers abutting on roads having ROW less than 9 mtrs. Shall be regularized after clearance of the Fire Department.

26. Identification of the sites :

For issuing of any NOC, a recommendation is to be given by TRAI to the fact that the proposed tower is essentially required at the site / vicinity as the nearest tower of this company is existing at a distance of ……………. M and no sharing of tower with other company is available. In case of residential buildings, it shall also be certified that no other alternative is available with the service provider.

27. NOCs :

i) In case of group housing, residential building, NOC from all the occupants of the housing block along with the NOC of the society is required.

ii) a) In case of the plotted residential building owned by different floor owners, NOC from all the floor owners is required.

b) In case of leasehold property, NOC of lessor is required.

iii) In case, building abuts on road having less than 9 M ROW, NOC from Fire Department is required.


a) Before erection of Cell Tower, application shall be filed jointly by the owner(s) of the building & the Mobile Service Provider Co. Copy of agreement between the service provider company and the owner shall also be submitted alongwith the application.

b) In case of the Municipal building, NOC of the Head of the Department / Land & Estate Deptt. under whose jurisdiction building or land is situated is required.

c) The application shall be filed under the signature of Architect, registered with the Council of Architecture who will certify that the proposed tower is safe in all respect. Alongwith the structural design calculation on the basis of which certificate is being issued for record purpose.

d) Erection of tower shall only be permitted only on regularized buildings.

e) A certificate on affidavit shall be submitted by the service provider company that erection of the proposed tower is not harmful to the health of the nearby residents.

f) Permission shall only be granted to the service provider who have license from Telecommunication Department, Govt. of India.

g) The service provider company shall provide 3rd party insurance and details of the insurance policy shall be depicted on the display board.

h) i) The NOC shall be got renewed on payment of requisite fee very 5 years.

iii) The Towers existing more than 5 years, are also required to be renewed within one month on payment of requisite fee.

iv) MCD reserves its right to withdraw permission at any time without assigning any reason.

v) The erection of the tower shall be completed within 3 months from grant of NOC and report of erection be made to the Building Deptt. of the concerned Zone.

29. Revised guidelines shall be prepared time to time keeping in mind the international standards & technology.


Thursday, September 16, 2010


Sent: Sun, September 5, 2010 5:59:12 PM

Subject: Re: Mobile Towers.

Dear Mr. Bembalkar,

Thanks for your update. I am glad to inform you that mobile tower on

building no.4 in Yashodhan Apartments, Four bunglows has since been

demolished by BMC in response to our complaint lodged.


Sudhir P. Mohite

Friday, September 3, 2010

State finalises norms for mobile phone towers

State finalises norms for mobile phone towers.....Ketaki Ghoge

Keeping check Service providers will need nod from multiple authorities, consent of residents

Cell phone companies across the state will soon have to follow strict guidelines for setting up towers. The state government will soon issue these guidelines that will include noise level specifications, installation details, approvals from the Department of Telecommunications and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) besides local authorities, and a provision for charging fees.

A panel of bureaucrats under Urban Development Secretary, T.C. Benjamin and Environment Secretary Valsa Nair Singh finalised the guidelines on Wednesday. The guidelines will be sent to Chief Minister Ashok Chavan for approval.

Cell phone transmission towers have come under flak from health experts and the public because of excessive radiation.

The government estimates that there are at least 5,000 illegal cell phone towers in the state. Mumbai alone has 3,489 towers, of which only 1,861 are legal.

The committee set up under the health secretary could not find any health hazards due to lack of hard evidence but as a precaution, we are laying down stringent norms on the lines of what the Delhi government has devised, said a senior bureaucrat, who is a member of the committee formulating the guidelines.

These guidelines state that cell phone providers will have to get the consent of every resident of a building before setting up a tower atop the terrace.

They will also have to get structural stability certificates from reputed institutions such as the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay.

The state has created a priority list for sites where mobile towers can be installed. The first preference will be for municipal buildings except schools, hospitals and dispensaries. Commercial, industrial and institutional buildings and vacant land come next.

Towers will be allowed in residential buildings only if there is no alternative. As far as possible, multiple towers should be curtailed and licencees should optimise the use of existing towers by sharing them.

The guidelines have also specified that base station antennae should be at least three metres away from nearby buildings and should not directly face the building. The lower end of the antenna should be three meters above the ground or the roof.

The state is yet to work out the installation charges. The Delhi government charges Rs 5 lakh a tower and Rs1 lakh from each service provider in a tower is shared. The no-objection certificate has to be renewed every five years on payment of prescribed fee to local authorities.

URL: http://www.hindustantimes.com/State-finalises-norms-for-mobile-phone-towers/H1-Article1-594985.aspx

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Letter to Minister of State for Housing and Environment

Dr. Vasant S Kelkar

62 , Kalpak
Artek Apartments
Bandra (E)
Mumbai 400 051

August 3, 2010

Hon. Shri Sachin Ahir
Minister of State for Housing and Environment
Government of Maharashtra
Madam Cama Road
Mumbai 400 032.

Dear Sir :

The Times of India has reported your statement made in the assembly that the government is considering a legislation wherein cell phone transmission towers will be allowed atop buildings if 70% society residents give their consent.

We are residents of the top floor of our residential society and have been suffering health problems due to cell towers of 4 companies mounted on terrace of our building. The residents on lower floors are subjected to negligible, if any, health risks due to such towers and therefore, will never agree to removal of the cell towers due to large revenues they give to the society. Since, the top floor residents will be always less than 30% of the members. They can never get the cell towers removed and be free from the health risk they cause.

For example, in a 6 storeyed building with 2 flats on each floor, the top floor members will be only 2 out of 12 i.e 16.67% and so can never be successful in removal of antennas although they cause the most risks to their health. Voting power of top floor members will be even worse in taller buildings.

How can health risks be decided by a majority vote? Has the government decided that smoking will be permitted in public places like restaurants if 70% of the customers agree to it?? That the passive smoke does not cause any health risk to remaining 30% of the public if 70% smoke? If there is a health risk to top floors members – even to one member – then the government must enact appropriate legislation forbidding installations of cell phone towers near human residents. This matter of health risk cannot be decided by voting of members.

Thanking you,
Yours faithfully,
Dr. Vasant S Kelkar

Letter to Hon Minister of Health - Maharashtra State

Dr. Vasant S Kelkar

62 , Kalpak
Artek Apartments
Bandra (E)
Mumbai 400 051
August 7, 2010

Hon. Shri Suresh Shetty
Minister of Health
Government of Maharashtra
Madam Cama Road
Mumbai 400 032.

Dear Sir :

The Times of India has reported today that the Committee appointed by the government has recommended that cell phone transmission towers will be allowed atop buildings if 67% of society members give their consent.

We are residents of the top floor of our residential society and have been suffering health problems due to cell towers of 4 companies mounted on terrace of our building. The residents on lower floors are subjected to negligible, if any, health risks due to such towers and therefore, will never agree to removal of the cell towers due to large revenues they give to the society. Since, the top floor residents will be always less than 33% of the members, they can never get the cell towers removed and be free from the health risk they cause.

For example, in a 6 storeyed building with 2 flats on each floor, the top floor members will be only 2 out of 12 i.e 16.67% and so can never be successful in removal of antennas although they cause the most risks to their health. Voting power of top floor members will be even worse in taller buildings.

How can health risks be decided by a majority vote? Has the government decided that smoking will be permitted in public places like restaurants if 67% of the customers agree to it?? That the passive smoke does not cause any health risk to remaining 33% of the public if 67% smoke? If there is a health risk to top floors members – even to one member – then the government must enact appropriate legislation forbidding installations of cell phone towers near human residents. This matter of health risk cannot be decided by voting of members.

Thanking you,
Yours faithfully,
Dr. Vasant S Kelkar

Rs. 5Lac Fince on Cell Towers with High Radiation

Cell Towers near schools and hospitals to be removed

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It has been reported that 1/3rd of Sweden population is electrosenitive.

I have attached a file Int-Rad-Limit-GSM1800.ppt, which gives details of the limit adopted by various countries. In India, we have adopted ICNIRP guidelines of 1998 of f/200, where f is in MHz. So, at 1840 MHz, it comes out to be 9.2W/sq.m, whereas Russia has adopted 20mW/sq.m and some European countries have even adopted 1mW/sq. m., which is 100's and 1000's of times less that what we have adopted.

Are people from these countries ignorant?

It has been reported that 1/3rd of Sweden population is electrosenitive. Sweden was the first country to announce 100% mobile connectivity and now their citizens are paying the price. Recently, nearly 100 researchers in USA have demanded that USA must adopt stricted norms (1/100th to 1/1000th) as is being adopted in European countries, please see the following link


Bio-initiative report (610 pages long) also supports that stricter radiation norms must be adopted. Recent, Interphone study also mentions that excessive use of mobile phones causes cancer. However, the
most strange thing is that they have taken average user as a person who uses cell phone for 2 hours/month (In India, many people use 2 hours in 1 or 2 days).

For mobile phones, max. SAR value of 1.6W/Kg is termed safe. However, this limit is only for 6 minutes/day. It has a safety magin of 3 to 4.

Why this information is not being made public?

Let's do some simple calculation of how much microwave power will be absorbed by human body if exposed to the so called safe radiation level adopted in India, which is f/200, where f is in MHz. So, at 900 MHz, power density is 4.5W/sq meter.

Power recd. by human body (modeled as cylinder of height - 5'6" and waist 34" = 1.5 sq meter approx.) will be 6.75 Watts.

In one hour, microwave energy absorbed will be 6.75 x 3600 = 24.3 KW-sec

In one day, microwave energy absorbed will be 24.3 x 24 = 583.2 KW-sec

A typical microwave oven has rating of 700 to 1000 W, and with say 60% efficiency, microwave power output is say 500 W. This implies that human body can be safely kept in a microwave oven for 1166 secs
= 19 min. per day. Ofcourse, people can argue about body being adaptable to external threats and this is spread over whole day, and so on.

However, question remains, would we like to put our citizen in an open microwave oven for 19 min./day over the years.

I am willing to come and have open discussions with telecom operators, policy makers and users.

With regards.


Girish Kumar

Professor, Electrical Engineering Department

I.I.T. Bombay, Powai, Mumbai - 400076, INDIA

Tel. - (022) 2576 7436, Fax - (022) 2572 3707

email- gkumar@ee.iitb.ac.in


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Our Demands - Final

Date: 08/07/2010
Mobile Tower Affected People’s Grievance Forum

  1. Mobile towers must not be installed on the roof tops of Schools, Colleges & Hospitals. Mobile towers must not be installed on top of residential buildings automatically preventing their commercial use. Commercial use of residential buildings is prohibited as per Section 170 & 171 of Co. op Soc. rules.  Any attempt to justify mobile towers on roof tops of residential building under the pretext of “majority of votes” should not be considered. In addition top three floor residents should have the right to execute their VETO power.

  1. Mobile towers may be erected on Hilltops, Railway tracks, bridges, beaches, water tank reservoirs, mangrove areas, forest areas, where radiation exposure to human beings would be minimum.

  1. They can be also installed on buildings meant for commercial purpose such as Malls, Theatres, office buildings, where exposure of human being to radiation will be for short duration .

  1. The distance of the antenna from “human habitation” must not be less than 100 mtrs as per internationally accepted “PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPAL”. ( In China this distance is 500 mtrs, which is still stricter.)

  1. Mobile towers must not be installed in 100 mtr peripheral distance from Schools & hospitals.

  1. No objection certificate must be obtained from residents of surrounding buildings, which come in periphery of 1.5 times the height of the mobile tower. (Reference: Pune municipal corporation GR no. 6/307 dated 27/11/2007)

  1. Structural audit of the building on which mobile tower is to be installed, must be done by competent & independent organizations APPROVED BY Municipal authorities.

  1. The sites of mobile towers must be “EASILY” approachable to fire brigade engines to prevent any safety hazards.

  1. Radiation emitted by the mobile tower antenna must not be “Self certified” by the mobile tower company (as is the prevailing practice). The radiation levels emitted from the mobile tower antenna must be measured by Government agencies like “Pollution Control Board” or “Telecom Regulatory Authority of India” or “IITs” or “RITES”.

  1. Radiation levels must be below allowable limits as prescribed by “Telecom Regulatory Authority of India” (Ref: letter no. 842-998/2008-AS-IV/13 dated 4/11/2008). They have recommended the Input radiation level to mobile tower antenna to be below 9.2 Watt/meter2; and the radiation emitted by the antenna to be below 600 milliWatt/meter2.

  1. If radiation levels are exceeded, there should be a provision of heavy penalty to the service provider.

  1. Mobile towers must not be installed without “PRIOR” permissions from competent authorities such as Municipality, pollution control Board, fire brigade, nearby police station, Electrical Inspection Dept (B & C).

  1. Present practice of regularizing the illegal installation of mobile towers by way of levying fine of Rs. 5000/- must be discontinued. Towers already installed without prior permission must not be regularized. Such service providers should be aptly penalized & such towers should be demolished at service provider’s cost.

  1. Charges levied by the government on these mobile towers should be uniform throughout the STATE.

  1. Tower companies should be advised to code sharing system so as to avoid multiple towers & clustering of towers.

  1.  There must be a provision to include a clause assuring compensation from the service provider, for any Hazards physical or structural, to the aggrieved persons or property owner by way of “comprehensive insurance policy”/ “Indemnity Bond” assured by the service provider, when an agreement is made.

  1. Mobile phone manufacturers must mention Specific absorption rate (SAR) value on mobile phone sets.

Suresh Ghadge                    Milind Bembalkar                  Manoj S. Londhe
            President (9322386847)      Secretary (9422656058)         Member (09435715494)
            Enclosed documents:
  1. State rules (Delhi, Chandigarh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh)
  2. Article written by Prof. Girish Kumar, IIT, Mumbai,
  3. Article written by Shri A. M. Joshi, retired wireless advisor, Govt of India.
  4. Copy presentation given to local MP, MLA & MLC by members of mobile tower affected people’s grievance forum.
  5. Article by Shri Manoj Londhe & Shri Milind Bembalkar.
  6. J.J. Hospital letter by Dean Dr. R. S. Inamdar, denying installation of mobile tower in their 44 acre premise.
  7. Tehelka reports about mobile tower radiation levels in Delhi & Mumbai.
  8. Mumbai Express News line report about Usha Kiran building.
Copy of research papers by eminent European scientists.

Marathi Vidyaan Parishad - Monthly Magazine

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lokmat - News report - 23/06/10

Radiation City - 2 - Mumbai

Radiation City - 2 - Mumbai

Our first radiation survey revealed how telecom towers were violating health norms and risking the lives of Delhi’s citizens
[Image]The TEHELKA EMR survey of 100 spots across Delhi was the first survey of its size in an Indian metro. The finds were disturbing. Close to four-fifths of Delhi is living in unsafe radiation zones. Only a fifth of Delhi lives and works in a safe zone and that is almost entirely the VVIP zone. This situation has come about because the authorities allowed illegal cell towers to mushroom all over Delhi, by not doing a thing about it.
Forty of the 100 spots surveyed in Delhi have extreme anomaly in radiation levels. These are high risk zones, where the EMR was up to seven times or more than the safe limit. At times, the readings were so high that the instrument used to measure them stopped doing so. Thirty-one spots were unsafe zone and nine were borderline. Only 20 spots were within the safe limits.
High risk areas in Delhi include: Connaught Place, Khan Market, Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi Police headquarters, ISKCON temple and Modern School in Vasant Vihar. The opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games will be held in unsafe areas. The Prime Minister’s residence and the AIIMS are borderline zones. VVIPs like Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit are in safe areas.
The Delhi High Court constituted a high-level panel to ascertain if cell towers are a health hazard, saying a panel had to be formed because of conflicting views on radiation. The court asked the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the telecom ministry to form the committee of technical and medical experts, NGOs, cellular associations, and public spirited persons. The committee is to submit its report on the harmful effects of radiation within three months.
RISHI BHATIA, 32, is an accountant in Mumbai. He lives on the fifth floor of Panchratna Apartments, Ulhasnagar — a building with seven floors and two wings. In 2004, a Reliance cell tower came up on the terrace of the wing in which he lived, with antennae spread out over the other wing as well. In 2006, Bhatia’s 17- year-old brother Dinesh was diagnosed with leukaemia. He died the same year.
“I’m not very aware when it comes to matters of science,” says Bhatia. “I didn’t know that radiation from the cell tower on top of my building might have caused this, till I read about it in the papers.”
Soon after his brother’s death, Bhatia learned that a woman living on the seventh floor of the same building complex, who had died in 2005, succumbed to cancer as well. “She had breast cancer, but didn’t tell me,” remembers Bhatia. “Her husband mentioned it later, in passing, because she and my brother were treated by the same doctor.”
Then, the same year, another boy living on the seventh floor, also 17, was diagnosed with leukaemia, and died soon after. “I found it strange,” Bhatia says. “I had heard that cell towers emit Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) — which some say causes cancer, but I wasn’t sure.” Bhatia started asking doctors and people of science. He found out that studies were on to determine the same thing.
“But that tower still stands on top of my building,” he says. “The building society refuses to remove it because they get Rs 30,000 a month.” Bhatia has gone on to read in newspapers about residents removing cell towers from where they live. But, after initial discouragement from his co-residents, he refuses to engage the building society over the topic anymore. “I leave home at 9 am and come back at 10 pm. I try to think of my work and family — and forget about this issue.”
But this isn’t easy. Bhatia has now found out that another resident, an old woman on the first floor of his building, has contracted cancer. This is the fourth case of cancer in Panchratna Apartments in five years. “With my brother gone, I live with my mother, my younger sister, my wife, and my daughter,” he says. “I am the only one earning for my family. Ever since the cell tower was put up, we have all experienced inexplicable migraines and problems with sleep. With time these have only gotten worse.”

[Image] Looming danger Cell phone antennae dangle over Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum, their threat more ominous than ordinarily perceived
Photo: Deepak Salvi
Can Bhatia be sure that the cell tower on top of his apartment block is responsible for the tragedy his family has suffered, or the ailments they are suffering? Can he be sure that it is responsible for the other cancer cases in the building? “Suppose a stranger wants to walk into my home, can I be sure if he will kill me, or just have a nice chat?” Bhatia says. “No. But if I suspect he is a criminal, I will not let him in — because the risk is too high. I will definitely be angry at him being allowed into my home without my permission.” That’s how Bhatia explains his resentment towards his building society for not letting him have a veto on whether there should be a cell tower atop his building.
Four cases of cancer in five years at Panchratna Apartments make it a cancer cluster — the occurrence of a greaterthan- expected number of cancer cases within a group of people in a geographic area over a period of time. Such clusters abound in Mumbai. Clusters of telecom antennae like the ones on top of Panchratna Apartments — often much thicker — abound too. So, it is not difficult to find a cancer cluster near a cluster of telecom antennae.
Yet, residents from different buildings around Carmichael Road in South Mumbai came together this January to appeal to the building society of Vijay Apartments to remove a cluster of mobile towers from their building terrace. The reason? Four cancer cases in the sixth, seventh and eighth floors of a building called Usha Kiran, which faced the cell cluster atop Vijay Apartments. Three of these cancers were of the same kind — brain tumours. A cancer cluster with the same kind of cancer is normally taken very seriously by medical researchers. The fourth case was that of bone cancer. A fifth cancer patient lived within Vijay Apartments itself.
Nine-tenths of Mumbai lives in unsafe zones. Shah Rukh is safe, as is the Chief Minister. The ordinary Mumbaikar is not WHEN TOLD there was no proof yet of a direct link between EMR from cell towers and cancer, Burjor Cooper, an appellant and Chairman of the Carmichael Road Citizen’s Committee, said: “It will take several years for the completion of conclusive research and for restrictions and safety standards to be implemented — with the result that many lives could be lost because of the harmful effects of cell towers.” True. The Department of Telecom had laid down guidelines in 2008 stating that antennae must not directly face a nearby building. Still, in 2010, residents have to appeal to the errant building society to remove such towers, instead of appealing to an authority or court. What better example of the “several years” it might take for these guidelines to be “implemented”?
The uproar over this issue forced one of the telecom providers whose towers were on Vijay Apartments to fund a test for EMR from these towers in the same month. So, SAMEER, a centre for electromagnetics that works out of Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru, checked the EMR on the three floors of Usha Kiran where the cancer patients lived. They also checked the apartment just below the tower cluster on Vijay Apartments. When the towers were on, the EMR in this apartment was way beyond levels considered safe for human health. When they were off, it was negligible.
No one really knows what exactly to do about EMR in India. But, these are some things that may help
● Could place cell towers at a distance from residential colonies, or place them at greater heights.
● Could control the EMR from a cell tower and use more of small single antennae, which the telecom industry calls ‘repeaters’, to transmit a weaker signal over larger area
● Tighten its EMR emission limits in tune with countries like Italy and Russia, for instance
● License competent independent agencies to conduct radiation audits
● Remove cell towers from schools and hospitals
● Set up a quasi-judicial body to address grievances when citizens want a cell tower removed, or want radiation audited. Something like a consumer court or a tribunal, which will have the authority
● Could contact their corporator or councilor because he/she is the first port of call on cell towers, which are principally in the domain of a civic body
● Petition legislators and members of parliament to sensitise them to the issue, because many are barely aware of EMR
● Could draw up by-laws of their building societies such that there is little chance of a tower coming up on their apartments
● Look at simple steps in the house that might help, like placing plants in balconies and by the windows, because plants tend to absorb EMR to an extent
● You could have a metal wire mesh on a window or a balcony that faces a cell tower because this will reflect the tower’s EMR and keep the radiation out
● But, this is tricky because the mesh has to be grounded by connecting it to the earthing wire of a building to avoid making the mesh radioactive
● In any case, a mesh has to be only on one or two windows because if it is on every window, it could trap the EMR from the cell phones and other appliances within the house, and make the house an ‘EMR cage’. TEHELKA with the help of Cogent EMR Solutions Limited has conducted another survey of EMR levels in 115 spots across Mumbai, which is even more extensive than its 100-spot survey in Delhi. [For the purpose of consistency, we are printing the findings of 100 spots.] The Mumbai results, which were aired on Star News, are even more shocking than Delhi. Well over nine-tenths of Mumbai is living in areas ranging from borderline radiation to extreme anomaly. Only four-fifths of Delhi fell into these categories. Less than a tenth of Mumbai is safe.
Here are some findings of the survey:
● Seventy of the 115 spots have “extreme anomaly” in radiation levels. This means the levels are close to seven times the safe limit. These are high risk areas. The readings were so high at times that the device used to measure the radiation, a High Frequency Analyser, could not record the radiation anymore. Over 60 percent of the spots surveyed fall into this category. A Spectrum Analyser — a device that takes far longer to test these levels and show its results — was brought in to reconfirm the results of the High Frequency Analyser. This was because the experts around Mumbai found it hard to believe that levels were actually this high. The Spectrum Analyser confirmed that they were.
● Thirty spots have “unsafe” radiation levels. This means the levels are two to six times the safe limit
● Six spots are “borderline”, just over the safe limit.
● Only nine of the 115 spots surveyed in Mumbai have safe radiation levels
● Phoenix Mills and Linking Road Bandra, two of Mumbai’s top shopping destinations, have extreme anomaly
● Two of Mumbai’s best hospitals, Jaslok Hospital and Bombay Hospital, have extreme anomaly
● Chief Minister Ashok Chavan is safe at his Malabar Hills residence
● Sea Wind, at Cuffe Parade, where Anil Ambani who heads Reliance Communications lives, is within the safe limit
● Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan live in unsafe spots at Jalsa, Juhu, and Galaxy Apartments, Bandra
● Shah Rukh Khan is safe at Mannat
● The Malabar Hills and Bandra Bandstand promenades, where Mumbai’s richest go for their morning walks, have extreme anomaly
● The Siddhi Vinayak Temple and Nehru Centre, Worli, have both registered extreme anomaly
● The Bombay Scottish School and Nariman Point are unsafe
● Three spots were measured within the constituency of Gurudas Kamat, Minister of State for Communications. One, at a Dongar slum, is safe. One, at Piramal Apartments, a middleclass colony in Juhu Galli, is unsafe. And one, at a slum next to Aradhna Apartments, Juhu Galli, has extreme anomaly
Looking around Mumbai will tell you why the levels are so high. During the last TEHELKA survey of EMR levels in Delhi, the following guidelines were listed:
● No base station antennae within schools and hospitals because children and patients are more susceptible to electromagnetic fields
● No antennae in narrow lanes to reduce the risks caused by earthquake or windrelated disaster
● Antennae should be at least three metres from a nearby building and must not directly face the building
● The lower end of the antenna should be three metres above the ground or a roof
● Sharing common tower infrastructure should be explored in case of multiple transmitter sites
● Access to base station antenna sites must be prohibited for the general public by wire fencing, locking the door to the roof, etc.
● Access to a tower site should be for a minimum period, as far as possible, even for maintenance personnel
● Warning signs must be at antenna sites saying: “Danger! RF radiations, Do not enter!” and “Restricted Area”
Telecom towers at every spot in this survey flout almost all these guidelines.
Of the six hospitals mapped by the survey, one — SL Raheja Hospital — turned up unsafe. The other five, Bombay Hospital, Jaslok Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital, Nair Hospital and Hinduja Hospital have registered extreme anomalies.
Bombay Hospital has a cluster of cell towers on top of it. These towers have antennae, which are barely a metre and a half above the roof. Buildings all around the hospital, but shorter in height, have cell towers that face the hospital. They emit EMR directly into the rooms of the patients. This is further accentuated by telecom antennae hung on the walls of the hospital next to the windows of the wards. A patient can reach out and touch these.
While humans are only now beginning to grasp the truth about EMR, the birds may have already flown
[Image] Life in balance: An egg under observation shows unnatural signs in the embryo after exposure to EMR radiation THE THREAT TO OUR ecology from Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) is not idle speculation. The thermal and non-thermal effects of EMR act directly on the physiology of life forms. Research has found that trees exposed to high frequency waves convert these waves into electric currents, which flow down and change the soil’s electrical conductivity and pH, both important parameters.
A University of Leeds study found an 80 percent decline in bee diversity, from 1980 levels, in over 100 sites across the UK and the Netherlands. That is an 80 percent decline for an organism critical as a pollinating agent. In Florida, 35 percent of bee colonies disappeared in 2007-2008 and the disappearance has subsequently hovered around 30 percent.
Recently, a young Indian scientist, VP Sharma, working for his PhD in our lab, proved a drastic decrease in the brood area and egg-laying rate per day of the queen bee in hives exposed to EMR. The pollen-carrying and returning ability also gets reduced significantly.
In our country, even a city of the size of Chandigarh has more than 335 cell phone towers continuously emitting EMR. Bees are disappearing and although I am not an apiarist, I am inclined to link the disappearance of bee colonies to the EMR cloud rather than a new disease. For, if it were a disease, we would find dead bees near hive sites. What is being reported is disappearance, not death.
But, it’s not just bees. There are others like the hoverfly, whose drastic decline in the UK has naturalists, horticulturists and agriculturists very worried. This has, in turn, led to a decline in insect-pollinated wild flowers. Then, there’s an example we would all identify with. Remember the house sparrow? This bird loved living in cities, in and around buildings, and we grew up around the sparrow in India. But, it has virtually disappeared since the 1990s — in India and in the birds’ native Europe.
Various reasons have been suggested like the use of pesticides in gardens, the changing nature of architecture, and the rise in the number of automobiles. But, the one reason that might explain the sudden and simultaneous disappearance of the man-friendly sparrow the world over is the coinciding mushrooming of cell towers and electro clouds.
Our work at the Panjab University has shown that fertilised eggs exposed to EMR show poor early development of chick embryos, especially of the heart, brain and neural tube, and reduced differentiation in somites. The negative effects of EMR are not limited to the animal world. Even in plants exposed to EMR, we have seen poor seed germination and an adverse effect on enzyme activity that impacts overall metabolism and, consequently, growth and development.
The planet we live on supports life through a large team effort of organisms that form a long and life-sustaining chain of cause and effect that we call ecology. And like a chain, one weak link weakens the whole. Bio-diversity loss like the disappearance of house sparrows, honeybees or the hoverfly is the weakening link in our ecology. The ultimate cost will be ours to pay.
Kohli is a Senior Ecologist and Professor of Botany, Panjab University Jaslok and Breach Candy Hospitals too have cell towers on their terrace and on buildings around them that are shorter in height and facing its windows. Hinduja Hospital also has its own cell tower.
Of seven schools and colleges the survey mapped, only one — St Xavier’s College — was safe. Bombay Scottish School and the Xavier Institute of Engineering were unsafe. Bal Bhavan Vidya Mandir, Jamnagar Middle School and Shiv Seva School were in the extreme category.
Some schools were seen violating guidelines themselves. The Saifi English Medium School at Mohammad Ali Road has more than six cell towers on top of it, as well as clusters on surrounding buildings that face it. The Bandra Urdu High School has another such cell tower cluster. The antennae of towers in these schools too are not three metres above the roof.
Of the 49 residential areas mapped, only two were safe. One was the upscale Woodhouse Road of Colaba. The other a slum in Dongar, Andheri. Fourteen residential areas were unsafe. These included residences in Charni Road, Byculla, Worli, Santacruz, Vile Parle, Andheri, Goregaon, Borivali and Kandivali. A shocking 30 were categorised as highly unsafe. These included residences in Breach Candy, Malabar Hills, Mohammad Ali Road, Worli, Dharavi, Mahim, Bandra, Andheri, Malad, Jogeshwari, Goregaon, Borivali and Kandivali.
[Image] [Image] [Image] Towering inferno (clockwise from left) A passerby views a rooftop cluttered with towers; A tower servicing a high-rise in the distance sticks out of the roof of a Worli slum; Its base fixed to the floor of the room below Two VIP residences safe according to the survey were that of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan at Malabar Hills and Anil Ambani, head of Reliance Communications — a prominent cell services provider — at Sea Wind Apartments, Colaba. However, the Raj Bhavan was unsafe. So were the houses of two of Mumbai’s biggest film stars — Amitabh Bachchan’s bungalow, Jalsa at Juhu, and Salman Khan’s residence at Galaxy Apartments, Bandra. Shah Rukh Khan’s residence at Mannat, however, was safe.
NOT A single cell tower investigated during the survey had warning signs. Many towers on apartment blocks had their terrace doors unlocked and no wire fencing. Mahesh Jadhav, 22, a student and resident at Durga Devi Nagar, Borivali, said that children from his building often play on the terrace. And children are far more at risk than adults to EMR, as the cells in their bodies proliferate at a much faster rate, and they have thinner skulls.
In Jijamata Nagar, a Worli slum, the flouting of these guidelines goes to a new extreme. The guidelines say the lower end of the antenna must be three metres above the roof. A telecom tower installed in this slum three months ago abides by this. Its antennae are three metres above the roof, an asbestos roof. But the tower itself is installed inside an eight by six room, occupying more than half of it. From here it shoots through the roof, to spread EMR through the slum, and below.
Inside this room is a textile stitching workshop, which has been operational for three years. Seven to eight workers work and sleep in this space. Twenty-two year old Ratiram, from Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh, is one of these workers. He doesn’t have any idea about the health hazards of EMR. Neither does the aged workshop supervisor Rafique Ansari. He has taken the room on rent from the landlord for Rs 2,000 a month, which in Mumbai is a lenient sum. Ratiram says: “The person representing the cell phone company which installed this tower told the landlord and Ansari that it would do a lot of good for them and the slum, because everyone would get a strong signal.” Just three blocks away from where this tower is installed is another cell tower, installed atop the slum’s only temple. Climbing on top of the asbestos roof of this room gives a clear view of both cell towers. It also gives a clear view of the many high-rises surrounding this slum. Surprisingly, there are no towers on these high-rises. They must not be getting a “strong signal”.
Mumbai takes telecom greed to a new high, with cell towers jutting out of shanties and even clamped onto high-rises Near Dharavi’s 90 feet road are two hutments inside the slum with the same problem. Cell towers have been installed, not on rooftops, but inside rooms where people live and work.
One reason cell clusters are so prevalent in Mumbai is that the guidelines don’t say anything about the number of cell towers that can be set up in an area. So, some buildings have as many as 30 cell phone antennae on their rooftop. Such buildings abound on Mohammad Ali Road, in South Mumbai. Almost every rooftop that can be seen along the JJ Flyover built over this road has a cell tower. One building is reported to have as many as 50 antennae on its roof. The permission to set up a cell tower in Mumbai is given by the building societies, or, in some cases, by the owner of the top floor flat and the terrace. So if a resident, or neighbour, being affected by EMR from a tower wants to protest, he has no say in the matter.
Of the 11 spots mapped in places of work, four were unsafe: three in Bandra Kurla Complex, one in Bombay House in South Mumbai. Seven registered extreme anomaly. These were Mohsin Lala Compound at Dharavi, the Bank of Maharashtra at Bandra, the ONGC building at Mahim, the Omkar Building at BKC, the Asian Paints Building, Rangslaka at Borivali and finally, the software capital of Mumbai-Andheri SEEPZ.
The survey also mapped 33 public places frequented by Mumbaikars. Two spots — Shivaji Park at Dadar and the Taj President at Cuffe Parade, were safe. The Gateway of India was borderline. Six spots were unsafe. These included Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Nariman Point, Nehru Planetarium and Mahim Beach. And 24 of the 33 registered extreme levels. Among these were the Jain Temple at Colaba, the Mumbai Central Station, the Siddhivinayak Temple, the Nehru Centre at Worli, the Maqdoom Shah Baba Dargah and St Thomas Church at Mahim, the Radio Club at Colaba, Crawford Market, Bhendi Bazaar, two spots in the red light area of Kamathipura, the entrance to Haji Ali, the Phoenix and Mahalaxmi Mills Compounds, Linking Road at Bandra, the Bandra Bandstand Promenade and the Malabar Hills Promenade.
As for the residents of Vijay Apartments, they finally passed a resolution to remove these cell towers, and everyone on Carmichael Road heaved a sigh of relief. But Carmichael Road, where property prices easily go beyond Rs 90,000 a square foot, is home to some of the country’s richest and most influential families. Elsewhere, residents like Rishi Bhatia, are still wondering whether the cluster of cell towers on top of, or next to their building, has anything to do with the cancer cluster growing inside it. They are wondering if it’s worth the risk to wait several years for the “completion of conclusive research” and for “any restrictions and safety standards to be implemented.”