THE BOMBAY High Court on Tuesday asked the state government to ensure from this festive season that noise pollution norms are not breached and no illegal pandals erected during Ganesh Utsav, Dahi Handi and Navratri festivals. It was hearing a petition filed by Awaaz Foundation and others on religious festivals celebrated in the area, resulting in noise pollution at Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ area.
On Tuesday, the government submitted affidavits on behalf of senior inspectors Vilas Gangavane (Marine Drive police station), Kusum Waghmare (Mahim police station) and Rashmi Jadhav (Cuffe Parade police station), stating that they have not deliberately delayed taking action against the noise emanating from Metro 3 underground construction sites in the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ area. They would act promptly on such complaints, they added.
The affidavits stated that on the directions of court, two visits were made at Metro construction sites in their respective jurisdiction. “I say that the readings were found exceeding the ‘Ambient Air Quality Standards’ mentioned in schedule to the noise pollution rules… the police officers have no deliberate intention to cause delay in initiating action against the noise emanating from the metro construction sites,” the affidavits stated. They added that police stations have “proposed to convene a joint meeting with the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) officers to know the steps/measures it proposes to take to curb the noise pollution”.
Further, the affidavits said that the meeting shall be held in a fortnight and an additional affidavit will be submitted. “…there is no deliberate violation of any of the directions issued by the Hon’ble court and I respectfully submit that prompt action would be taken on the complaints of the citizens.”
A division bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice R I Chagla said, “This festive season, we do not want any breach and we will not accept any excuses.” Justice Oka further said that all concerned authorities have to take action against the person or organisation if they are found in breach of law.
Awaaz Foundation lawyers Rohaan Cama and Shanay Shah informed the court that the toll free numbers set up by the municipal corporation for the residents to complain on noise pollution were not functional.
Following this, the court rapped the BMC saying: “This is a very sorry state of affairs.” It added that in future, they would come down heavily on the corporation for not complying with the orders and such action deserves a contempt notice.
Meanwhile, the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) submitted before the court a report on noise-mapping across the city. The court directed both the government and the petitioners to study the same.
According to report, noise level of all 27 cities during night time of working day says that maximum noise was found in Ulhasnagar city at 85.1db while minimum was found in Parbani city at 63.5db.