Stepping up efforts in the movement against mobile towers in the city, Bollywood beauty and veteran, Juhi Chawla met Indian Chief Secretary of State Jayanth Banthia early this month, in an erstwhile plea to gather government support to spread awareness regarding the ill effects of radiation coming from mobile towers in India.
Chawla has been championing her cause for quite a while now and has caught the eye of the government. “She wanted government support to raise awareness about radiation from mobile towers and phones. Many people sleep with their cell phones under their pillows and there are others who keep them in their shirt pockets. She wants the government to help her in creating awareness,” said Chief Secretary Banthia.
Being adjunct to the cause was activist Prakash Munshi (of NGO Indians for Safe Environments of Radiation from Mobile towers and Associated Hazards). In a combined effort, both eminent personalities urged Banthia to facilitate more debate on the issue at the government level.
In positive news, the government will soon have a dialogue between officials from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and Dr Rajenda Badwe of Tata Memorial Hospital, in the hopes of uncovering the magnitude of the effects of phone radiation on the public. Adding to this, Banthia said that the state government will soon prepare a draft policy on cell phone towers, which will be published on the state urban development department’s website.
Urban development department’s Principal Secretary Manukumar Srivastava and Environment department’s principal secretary R A Rajeev were also present during meetings held with the Chief Secretary.
Meanwhile, the former Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Sharwaree Gokhale was asked to prepare a report on the adverse effects of cell phone towers, but soon after her retirement the government turned a blind eye to the issue. In a plot twist, the report prepared by the then Additional Chief Secretary was damaged in a fire on June 21, last year – raising much concerns which cloud the issue.
Juhi Chawla however is adamant to bring about change and has pledged to continue in her cause, hoping for active engagement on the part of the government, and the public in their own interest.