Fearing possible health hazards, residents of Gogol housing board’s Vidyanagar, are demanding that a cellphone tower erected atop a house in the densely populated residential colony be taken down. At a meeting on Friday, residents resolved to pressurize authorities to withdraw the NOC issued to the owners of the tower.
Affected resident Santosh Borkar said that the tower had been erected without proper clearance from the authorities. Concerned that residents would be exposed to harmful radiation, Borkar said, “Experts say cellphone towers installed on the top of buildings are a definite threat to human health.”
In a letter to chief minister Digambar Kamat, residents of ward 7 of the Margao municipal council (MMC) vented their anguish over the failure of the civic authority, the collector, police and their elected representative to take action against the tower owners. They sought the CM’s help in taking down the tower, failing which they would be forced to take further action.
A senior MMC official confirmed the council having received the Vidyanagar residents’ complaint and they have been intimated of a meeting with the chief officer.
The official added that there were no specific norms framed by the civic body regarding such towers, making it difficult to crackdown on telecom companies. Ward councillor Babita Naik, who was present at the meet, told TOI she would support the residents. “The company should not be allowed to play with people’s health,” she said.
Residents of Suman Residency at Borda have a similar concern after two towers were erected on one building. “We have already complained to various authorities. The builder went ahead with erecting both towers despite our objections,” said a resident.
As per rough statistics compiled by Margao-based civic activist Albert Fernandes, 20 to 23 towers exist in various housing complexes in Margao and Fatorda, with most of them concentrated in Borda, Gogol and areas in the heart of the town. “Though some have the required clearance, most are illegally erected without NOCs from the local residents,” healleged.
Though Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) officials could not be contacted on the weekend, TOI spoke to former board chairman L U Joshi, who said, “A high level inter-ministerial committee has called for imposition of strict restrictions on installing cellphone towers near high-density residential areas, schools, playgrounds and hospitals.”