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Activists frown upon cops over noise pollution
Tuesday, 8 September 2015 - 7:55am IST | Agency: dna | From the print edition Activists, who measured sound levels across Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai on Sunday's Gokulashtami as a trial run to see not only the preparedness but also to test the implementation by police, were only dejected to find decibel levels being violated.
Activists are irked that with barely 10 days for Ganesh Utsav remaining, no numbers have been publicised by the state government accordance with court orders to receive complaints from citizens. The police department is responsible for keeping the decibel level in check. Rules demand that every police station should have decibel metres at their disposal.
Activists, who measured sound levels across Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai on Sunday's Gokulashtami as a trial run to see not only the preparedness but also to test the implementation by police, were only dejected to find decibel levels being violated.
"Bombay High Court had directed that there has to be a dedicated toll-free number and email id on which people can register complaints regarding noise pollution and also an SMS kind of facility where they receive an immediate feedback as well as the complaint registration number. But Mumbai police did not make any such provisions for Gokulashtami and people were forced to use the police control room (100) number that should not ideally be used for making these complaints," said Sumaira Abdulali, convenor of Awaaz Foundation. She added that only Navi Mumbai police gave out mobile numbers of policemen for complaining about noise pollution and also numbers to contact in case the complaints were addressed.
Abdulali said that the high court has not given an option to the state government but directed it to implement various orders so that citizens do not suffer. But the police, according to her, still seems clueless. They were not seen using decibel meters to check the noise levels during the events. "I will write to the chief minister reminding him about a dedicated number. It has to be publicised before Ganesh Utsav for Mumbaikars. If Navi Mumbai can do it, then others can do it too," she said.
Thane resident Dr Mahesh Bedekar, who has filed a public interest litigation raising concern over the nuisance created by various organisers of religious festivals regarding noise pollution and erection of pandals on streets and footpaths, said: "In fact, Thane police had come up with some number a month ago but they did not publicise it. So, no one in Thane knew where to complain."
Bedekar informed that they would bring all this to light in court during the next hearing. "We do not want to give up hope. But it's sad. The attitude remains the same and irrespective of all the orders, the ground realities will not change. The common man will keep suffering from noise pollution," he added.
Dipesh Tank, a resident of Malad, said that there should be some sort of a complaint redressal mechanism where one can complain. "Most of the people have no idea where to lodge complaints and call up Mumbai police control room. During the noisy festivals, it's extremely difficult to get across to them and there is no guarantee that the complaints will be taken seriously."
When asked whether the police department has a dedicated website to cater to noise pollution related complaints, deputy commissioner of police and Mumbai police spokesperson Dhananjay Kulkarni said, "Existing facilities available with the police department are sufficient. We have a few dedicated helplines for senior citizens and women. Apart from that we also have 100, which is the main police control room number on which any nature of complaint or information, including non cognisable, can be shared and we give immediately feedback on the complaints. Also, online complaints can be lodged and information in this regard is available on the Mumbai police's website."
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Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.