Bollywood actress and social worker Juhi Chawla has strongly opposed chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ plan to make Mumbai completely Wi-Fi-enabled by May 2017, saying the move would have harmful effe
Bollywood actress and social worker Juhi Chawla has strongly opposed chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ plan to make Mumbai completely Wi-Fi-enabled by May 2017, saying the move would have harmful effects on the human body. Ms Chawla said that she is not against technological advancements in general, but was against wire-free technology until it is proved beyond doubt that electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation is totally safe. She also said that complete Wi-Fi connectivity could lead to information being hacked, apart from helping terrorists send anonymous messages.
Meanwhile, prof Girish Kumar of IIT-Bombay has supported Ms Chawla’s stand, saying EMF radiation is nothing but “slow poison”.
On August 6, Mr Fadnavis had announced that Mumbai would be made Wi-Fi-enabled by May 1, 2017, with more than 1,200 hotspots being installed across the island city. But Ms Chawla said that though Wi-Fi access anywhere and everywhere will help people stay connected and informed, there would be a possibility of information on social sites — apart from financial transactions including bank account and credit and debit card details — being hacked. Ms Chawla also said: “Via the Wi-Fi platform, we could be aiding terrorist groups to communicate effortlessly with the added bonus of anonymity.”
When asked whether these were the only reasons why she was opposed to Mumbai being Wi-Fi-enabled, Ms Chawla said: “People living close to the hotspots would be exposed to constant and intense radiation from Wi-Fi and also from the existing mobile tower antennae that are sometimes located an arm’s length away from citizens’ bedrooms.”
She added that mobile phones, iPads, wireless computers, bluetooth devices and mobile tower antennae function thanks to microwaves, which could adversely affect the human body. “These waves could harm any part of the human anatomy that is vulnerable, especially in the case of pregnant women, children and elderly people,” Ms Chawla said.
She added: “I am not against technology, but am certainly against wire-free technology until it is proved beyond doubt that EMF radiation is totally safe. Where are the studies to prove its safety when it comes to pregnant women, children, the elderly and the infirm ”
Echoing Ms Chawla, prof Kumar said that the effects of EMF radiation take some time to be visible. “EMF radiation is a slow and silent poison that affects not only humans, but also other biological beings such as birds, bees and plants,” he said, adding that he had been badly affected after working in conditions with EMF radiation for the past 35 years. Prof Kumar teaches electrical engineering at IIT-Bombay.
He said: “Wi-Fi connectivity will certainly affect the human body. Hence, switching off hotspots during the night is the only solution to avoid sustained damage through microwave radiation.”
Meanwhile, Ms Chawla has sent a letter to the CM, as well as to the PM, voicing her concerns about free Wi-Fi access for citizens.