Pulling up the state for having no explanation for the long delay in buying 1,843 decibel meters in accordance with its earlier orders, the Bombay High Court Monday asked when this year’s Dahi Handi festival was to be celebrated, and added the idea behind procuring the meters was to use them during festivals to check noise norms violations.
“There is no explanation as to why the state did not take any action for procuring the meters till May, even as the deadline for it was April 3, in accordance with earlier court orders,” said the court. The HC in January had asked the government to procure the meters within three months, according to the requirements of the police department. Each police station is expected to use the meters, especially during major festivals, to ensure compliance with noise pollution rules.
Government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani said, “Fifty percent of such meters will be procured by July-end and the remaining will be available by August-end.”
A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice C V Bhadang was hearing a public interest litigation that raises the issue of illegal pandals being erected across the state during festivals and noise pollution rules being flouted.
“The idea is that they be made available before the festival,” said Justice A S Oka. The court asked Vagyani when Dahi Handi would take place this year and was informed it would be celebrated in September
The court has now asked the government pleader to file its reply explaining why the government took so much time to start procurement of the meters. “The additional chief secretary, home department, should also be present during the next hearing,” said the High Court.
Vagyani said the reason for the delay was that several government departments had been involved in the procurement earlier, before the job was assigned to the home department. He further said that the government was working on a new software — similar to the one in place to ensure women’s safety in the state — to enable people to lodge complaints about noise pollution using an app.
Pointing out that there was no clarity on when such meters would eventually be supplied, the court added, “Show us the orders given by you for purchase of such meters and the time by when they will be provided.”
The matter has been kept for hearing on July 27.