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Protests against mobile tower

Setting up of a base transceiver station (BTS) atop a house in densely populated Ulidih in Mango has triggered protests from residents who fear radiation-related health hazards.

Four homemakers and an advocate on Thursday submitted a memorandum signed by 70 families of the area to Dhalbhum subdivisional officer Subodh Kumar, demanding intervention to stop construction of the mobile tower.

Vimla Singh (45), one of the petitioners, said residents were prepared to agitate in every manner to stop the tower from coming up.

“We are not going to compromise with the health of our children. If no action is taken, we might block Dimna Road in protest. The area is thickly populated with more than 300 families living there and a state-run school for tribals not even 100 metres from the spot,” said Vimla.

Advocate Onkar Singh said their pleas before Mango Notified Area Committee had gone unheeded.

“We had written to Mango Notified Area Committee on January 31, but no action was taken and construction work for the BTS is now nearly complete,” said Singh.

The mobile tower is being installed on the house of one Sindhu Devi, who admitted that construction work for mobile towers was on but refused to say whether permission had been sought from authorities for the purpose.

Meanwhile, Subodh Kumar asked MNAC special officer Neeraj Srivastava to look into the issue.

“I have received a complaint and have asked the MNAC special officer to investigate,” said the SDO.

The Supreme Court had on February 6 heard the petition filed by Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) challenging last year’s Rajasthan High Court order that directed telecom companies to remove cellphone towers from the vicinity of schools, hospitals, jails and heritage buildings. The court has asked the Rajasthan government to file a reply within a week.

The department of telecommunications too (on May 2012) had revised radiation limit or electromagnetic frequency last year to 450 milliwatts per square metre, which is 10 per cent of the current levels, and prohibits installation of BTS near schools and hospitals.

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