The state government informed the Bombay High Court Friday that it had issued tenders for the purchase of 1,843 decibel meters and they would be available by August this year. The court had earlier issued a contempt notice against Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K P Bakshi for ‘willful and deliberate’ breach of court orders, relating to procurement of the 1,843 decibel meters.
The court in January had asked the government to procure the devices, according to the requirements of the police department. Every police station is expected to use the meters, especially during major festivals, to ensure compliance with noise pollution rules in the state.
The state was supposed to have procured the meters in March this year, but did not even issue tenders for it.
On Friday, however, government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani informed the court, “The process for purchasing the meters has begun. Such meters will be available in August. We are procuring such meters from a German company which will also maintain such meters for three years.”
A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice A A Sayed was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Mahesh Bedekar about noise pollution norms being violated during festivals.
The petitioner’s lawyer, Sanjay Gorwadkar, said that the meters were available for Rs 7,000, but the government was procuring them for over Rs 1 lakh and wasting public money. “There is someone who is willing to donate 100 such meters for free to the government,” Gorwadkar claimed.
The, court, however, said it could not interfere with the government’s decision. Vagyani further said that the meters would meet all requisite norms. “We will conduct workshops with our officers on how to file cases in such matters,” said Vagyani. The court has kept matters pertaining to noise pollution for final hearing during the first week of July.