In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Rage in the air

Posted by seumasach on April 22, 2012

Manorama

20th April, 2012

For a day it seemed Sudhir Kasliwal had won the battle. The Jaipur jeweller, who had been
campaigning to move cell phone towers out of residential areas, was relieved when Jaipur city authorities took note of THE WEEK’s report on the impact of mobile towers (‘Wave of worry’, March 11) and shut down operations; only to be restarted the next day.


This has led to dissatisfaction among the people in Kasliwal’s neighbourhood in central Jaipur. The family now plans to go to court.  “Officials of the civic body stopped operations of the mobile towers, but within a day, telecom service providers restarted them,” says Kasliwal. “Look at the audacity of these mobile tower companies that they went against the order of the municipal commissioner.” Lok Nath Soni, chief executive officer of Jaipur Municipal Corporation, was unavailable for comment.
Kasliwal’s younger brothers—Sanjay and Pramod—were diagnosed with cancer in 2011. The family blames the illness on radiation from the cluster of cell phone towers in their locality. Alarmed by a query made by their oncologist about possible radiation exposure, the Kasliwals got the radiation levels measured in the house only to find that the levels were higher in those parts occupied by Sanjay and Pramod. An RTI filed by Kasliwal revealed that the civic body had no records of permission granted to mobile operators to install the towers in the colony.
This led to a campaign spearheaded by the Kasliwals to get the authorities to move cell phone towers out of their colony. Kasliwal met the chief minister, chief secretary, Jaipur mayor and state health officials, but in vain.
In the lane where the Kasliwals live, at least five people have been detected with cancer; the lane has 30 houses. Also, residents have been complaining of low immunity, headaches, sleep disorder and fever since the towers cropped up.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use. The World Health Organisation has called for more studies on the subject. Meanwhile, the Indian government is mulling over the idea of fixing the exposure limit for the radio frequency field (base station emissions) at one-tenth of the existing levels.

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