India’s Radiation City: Delhi
Cell radiation is slow poison. Effects begin with fatigue and could end in cancer. It is nearfatal for ones with pacemakers
1,800 CELL TOWERS IN 2006. 6,000 NOW. BARE MINIMUM RADIATION LEVELS IN 2006. A THOUSAND TIMES MORE NOW. THERE’S A NEW THREAT IN DELHI, REPORTS RISHI MAJUMDER
REHAAN DASTUR, 46, is an engineer and an industrialist. he owns and runs a profitable Delhi-based boiler manufacturing company called Universal Boilers. So, it is safe to say he is a man of science and not prone to paranoia. Dastur was one of the first users of the cell phone in India. he bought his phone from airtel in October 1997, 15 days before it was commercially released. Cell phone calls cost rs 18 a minute then. Dastur spoke on his phone for hours on end at times. He continued to use the phone even though it had fallen and had developed a crack, because cell phones then were expensive and the crack didn’t affect his phone’s efficiency.
Three years after doing this, in 2000, Dastur suffered a stroke that paralysed his body and distorted and froze his face. The doctor treating him at Delhi’s Apollo hospital told him he had Bell’s palsy, caused by Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) emitted from the antennae in his cell phone. The emr travelled through the crack in the phone, into Dastur’s ears, nerves and brain.
After a month-and-a-half of treatment at the hospital and home, he returned to 95 percent of his former self. Ninety-five percent, because he is in danger of reverting to a paralytic state if he goes near a cell phone tower, or uses a cell phone for too long. “My body is the best device for measuring emr,” he says. “If you take me blindfold through the city, I can point out where the cell towers are by the jangling I feel in my nerves as we pass them by.”
There is a cell phone tower on the roof of Dastur’s office in nehru Place, south Delhi, and another one facing his cabin windows from the other side of the road. so Dastur has converted his cabin into a war bunker. The ceiling and the wall with the windows have been sealed with sheets of lead. There are cell phone towers near his home as well. So Dastur has sealed his home too with lead sheets. “Lead is toxic,” he says. “Continuous exposure to it might damage the brain.”
But, the EMR from the cell phone towers was too big a risk for Dastur’s paralysis and besides, even his family was dealing with increasing headaches, muscle twitching, involuntary limb movement, sleeplessness and other nervous system disorders. Dastur wrote often, asking the authorities to remove the towers. They did not. so he had no choice. Lead sheets were a lesser evil. “We are stuck between the devil and the deep sea.”
“People do not understand,” he says. “Because radiation, unlike air, water and sound pollution, cannot be seen or felt. most Indians have only started using cell phones over the past 10 years.” Dastur says he notices that his employees, like his family members, are already complaining of increasing headaches and extreme fatigue. “In five years, emr will be the number one killer after heart attacks.”
There is no other way to say this. Radiation levels of the non-nuclear kind in Delhi may have reached way beyond what humans can live with. Almost four-fifths of the metropolis has people living in the midst of radiation levels ranging from “borderline” to “unsafe” and “extreme anomaly”, which are highly unsafe. Only about a fifth of Delhi lives and works in the safe zone and that is almost entirely where the vvips reside. The October Commonwealth Games, over 12 days, could be the most radiation-filled sports event ever.
These are the findings of a TEHELKA survey of radiation levels in 100 spots across Delhi in the first half of May 2010. The survey is of EMR, the dominant form of radiation in human habitation. This is the first time such an extensive survey of 100 spots has been done for radiation anywhere in india, and it has been done in public interest exclusively for TEHELKA Continue reading