At 1.52 pm on Friday, assistant sub-inspector Subhash Chander receives a call from New Friends Colony about a car alarm troubling residents. Just the previous night, Chander’s colleague had received four back-to-back calls from people across the city, complaining about blaring noise and music from loudspeakers.
The men are among four police officers working on the Delhi Police’s 24×7 noise pollution helpline number, 155271, which was inaugurated on April 6. A few months on, the helpline is still catching up, said Shanker Choudhury, additional DCP, Police Control Room (PCR). The helpline had been set up in compliance with the National Green Tribunal’s orders.
A lack of awareness about the helpline appears to be the most obvious reason. While the noise pollution helpline receives three-four calls a day, the ‘100’ number receives 50-60 calls regarding noise pollution. Complaints on both numbers are dealt with in the same way. “The (noise pollution helpline) number is long and difficult to remember. Plus there is a lack of awareness about it,” said a senior officer.
Choudhury said the helpline is “maintained by the PCR and Delhi Police proactively monitors calls, following which officers concerned take all necessary steps”.
The calls are received by officers who work on the third floor of the Delhi Police headquarters. Chander, who previously worked in the anti-stalking cell, said, “There are more calls received at night than during the day. Most of these calls are about DJs playing loud music at parties.”
Calls come from across the city, he said. “The complaints made the previous night were in connection with loud music from a temple in Uttam Nagar and residential areas in Model Town, Shastri Nagar and Krishna Nagar.”
Four officers work six-hour shifts — one each in morning and evening and two at night. The desk assigned to them comprises two telephones and a register, meant to keep a record of complaints, which range from noise from fireworks to construction equipment in residential areas.
“The number of calls are increasing as people get more and more aware of this initiative,” said an officer. After receiving a call, officers on the tenth floor of the police headquarters are alerted. They contact the police station concerned, which then sends officers to the spot along with the closest PCR officers. If the complaint includes traffic violations, traffic police is also alerted. The violators are asked to lower the volume and a challan, ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000, is handed to them.