After Sonu Nigam’s ‘noise’ over azaan, Mumbai police stations get 2 new decibel meters eachThe Mumbai police have launched Action and Awareness – a special drive to look into noise pollution, mainly from loudspeakers and religious processionsMUMBAI Updated: May 24, 2017 09:49 IST
The police have also launched Action and Awareness – a special drive to look into noise pollution, mainly from loudspeakers and religious processions.(HT)
After a rap from the Bombay high court and controversy over singer Sonu Nigam’s tweets over “loud azans”, all 91 police stations in Mumbai have been provided with two ‘latest’ decibel meters to look into complaints of noise pollution.
The police have also launched Action and Awareness – a special drive to look into noise pollution, mainly from loudspeakers and processions. An inspector-level officer in every police station has been made in charge of the drive, with at least four constables in his team.
“The constables have been briefed on how to record pollution level and make entries in the special log. They have been told to get signatures of two independent witnesses to bolster evidence,” the officer said.
Assistant commissioners of police (ACPs) in each division, which covers two police stations, have been made nodal officers with powers to issue show-cause notices to violators.
“Violators will be given 90 days to respond to the notice. If they fail to respond, the matter will be referred to the court, which will then decide the quantum of punishment,” the official said.
The deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) in all 12 zones will be made accountable for non-implementation of noise norms.During the monthly crime review meeting last week, Mumbai police commissioner Dattatreya Padsalgikar invited activist Sumaira Abdulali to brief the team on the dangers of noise pollution and ways to curb it.
Officers were also briefed about the HC guidelines and the need to implement them.
“Instructions have been issued to not only act on complaints with a stern hand, but educate individuals/organisations about the effects of high decibel noise,” said an officer who attended the meeting. “The campaign is against noise pollution, sources are irrelevant.”
During the hearing, the HC said policemen often forget to carry decibel meters while attending to complaints of loudspeakers, DJs and other sound systems. “So we have not armed our men with state-of-the art decibel meters. We also plan to make provisions to get more such instruments,” the official said.
The Maharashtra police, in its affidavit in the HC, said of the 1,136 complaints received by the Mumbai police over e-mails, WhatsApp messages and phone calls, the police registered only 27 cases.
The officer defended the number saying in most complaints, the violators switch off amplifiers by the time the police reach the spot.
Meanwhile, joint commissioner of police, law and order, Deven Bharati said the Mumbai police were sincerely monitoring the noise pollution level. “One can see the results during last Diwali and New Year celebrations when the noise pollution levels were the lowest compared to the previous years,” Bharati said, adding, “We will ensure that the guidelines are followed on a day-to-day basis.”
Drives, discussions mark international noise awareness day in Mumbai
Citizens took to the streets on Wednesday carrying placards, interviewing people and asking them about the difficulties they face due to noise pollution in MumbaiMUMBAI Updated: Apr 27, 2017 00:29 IST
Police officers take part in a discussion on Wednesday(HT)
Senior officers from Mumbai police and the traffic department on Wednesday took part in a discussion to curb noise pollution in the city.
This was one of the many initiatives undertaken by NGO Awaaz Foundation on International Noise Awareness Day.
The NGO shared its inputs about the noise campaigns that it had undertaken in the past year.
The Mumbai police commissioner was present at the discussion. “It was very informative and helped all officers understand the issue,” said Milind Bharambe, joint commissioner, traffic.
He added, “Our officers were briefed about the violations and asked to crackdown on them.”
Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation, said, “The police are our main defence against noise pollution and also the most affected. The time has come for direct action.”
Citizens took to the streets on Wednesday carrying placards, interviewing people and asking them about the difficulties they face due to noise pollution in Mumbai.
Under a joint campaign by Sprouts Environment Trust and Awaaz Foundation called Awaaz Bandh, close to 70 underprivileged girls were sensitised about noise pollution.
They made posters to raise awareness.
“The girls were told about the difference between natural sound levels and the noise generated by us, which generally progresses into a health hazard,” said Anand Pendharkar, director, Sprouts.
Shivaji Park residents campaigned with senior citizens and children about the residential colony being a Silence Zone.
“We discussed the health hazards that noise pollution directly causes. All age groups are affected by it,” said Sadhana Mahashabde, chairman, Global Enviro Solutions, the non-governmental organisation that carried out the drive.
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Sonu Nigam row: Mumbai noise pollution rampant across religious buildings, festsDespite Sonu Nigam’s complaint about noise of early morning azaan, mosques are not the only culprits. In Mumbai, most religious places seem to have scant regard for court orders to curb noise pollution.INDIA Updated: Apr 26, 2017 09:59 IST
File photo of Ganpati idol, 'Kurla cha Raja' being taken to Kurla from Chinchpokhli workshop in Mumbai. Religious festivals in the city are a noisy affair where sound is often over 100 decibels despite court orders on noise pollution. (HT PHOTO)
Singer Sonu Nigam is not the only one losing sleep over the early morning azaan from a mosque. Across Mumbai noise levels were found to be too high in several Hindu and Muslim religious buildings, while four loudest religious festivals in the city are celebrated by Hindus.
Anti-noise campaigners in Mumbai said that noise level from mosques in Mumbai touched 97 decibels (dB), which is as loud as a drill machine. But they are not the only ones guilty of making excessive noise.
Awaaz Foundation, an NGO said that religious shrines were not following noise pollution control orders by the highest courts of the country.
Nigam tweeted on Monday about being woken up to the sound of azaan (call to prayer) even though he is not a Muslim that angered fans and followers. “God bless everyone. I’m not a Muslim and I have to be woken up by the Azaan in the morning. When will this forced religiousness end in India,” he wrote on Twitter.
Hours later, in a letter to the state environment department, Mumbai police, the municipal commissioner and the state pollution control board, Sumaira Abdulali, convener of Awaaz Foundation highlighted that religious institutions were not following noise rules as directed through several orders by the Supreme Court and Bombay high court on numerous occasions.
“While I do not support Sonu Nigam’s comments as related to noise pollution from one single religion only, I urge all concerned departments of the government to strictly enforce the noise pollution rules in accordance with the Bombay high court order of August 2016 across all religious, cultural and social denominations and for all religious places,” Abdulali said, adding, “Such enforcement would be in accordance with law and in the public interest for all.”
The Supreme Court and the Bombay high court had directed that noise pollution rules be strictly followed and emphasized that religion should not be a reason to break the rules. The courts also held that 100-metre periphery around religious institutions should be identified as ‘silence zones’ where the use of loudspeakers is not permitted.
While passing its final order in August 2016, the Bombay HC specifically directed that noise pollution in religious places should be controlled in accordance with the silence zone norms which do not permit loudspeaker use in such areas. This order applies to all religious places and is applicable to azaans using loudspeakers and also to the use of loudspeakers in temples, gurdwaras and other religious places.
“Noise pollution is a health issue and adversely affects the health of people from all communities who are exposed to extremely high levels of noise in Mumbai, one of the noisiest cities in the world,” said Abdulali. “Forced sleep deprivation, a direct result of noise pollution is considered a form of torture and noise pollution adversely affects hearing, mental health, heart and blood pressure.”
Officials from the state said that noise levels that were being violated by religious institutions needed to be checked by the police.
Nigam’s tweet though did not seem to strike a chord with a top government official.
“People who claim to be opinion makers have to be more responsible with their public utterances. The early morning azaan is one of the most pleasant sounds that one could wake up to when sung in a peaceful manner,” said Satish Gavai, principal secretary, state environment department. “For various religious festivals violating noise rules, the police have access to decibel metres and should use the same to check any violations,” he said.
Noise levels from loudspeakers at mosques and temples in Mumbai (2005 to 2013 readings)
DatePlaceTimeDecibel level (in dB)ZoneSource
10/09/2005Mahalaxmi Temple8.30 pm80 dB–
100 dBSilence ZoneLoudspeakers
10/06/2007Mosque Near Byculla Station9.10pm80 dBSilence ZoneLoudspeakers at mosque
09/14/2008Mosque at Perry Cross Road, Bandra West6.30pm97 dBSilence ZoneLoudspeaker for azaan
09/14/2008Mahalaxmi Temple9pm85 dBSilence ZoneLoudspeakers with generator
10/16/2012Quresh Nagar, Kurla (east), would like to inform you that in our area mosque
situated at Naamdar chawl named Habibiya Masjid———Anonymous complaint
09/10/2013Mosque at Bombay Central7pm88 dBSilence ZoneLoudspeakers at Mosque
Source: Awaaz Foundation
Noise levels over the years during different festivals in Mumbai
FestivalNoise levels in 2013 (in dB)Noise levels in 2014 (in dB)Noise levels in 2015 (in dB)Noise levels in 2016 (in dB)
Janmashtami 106.8 121.4 123.7 110.8
Ganeshotsav 123.2 114 123.7 116.4
Diwali 124 105.5 123.1 113.5
Dusherra 103.4 103.4 101 98.9
Eid-e-Milad 112.7 108.3 113.6 111.5
Mahim Fair 104.4 108.3 113.6 117.3 (Police procession violated noiserules)
Source: Awaaz Foundation
Why should you care?
Noise standards as laid down in Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000
Category of areaDay time limit (in dB)Night time limit (in dB)
Industrial area 75 70
Commercial area 65 55
Residential area 55 45
Silence zone 50 40
Receiving flak, cops plan training camp to help
VIRAT A SINGH | Tue, 25 Apr 2017-07:05am , DNA
April 26, which is observed as the International Noise Awareness Day, will be a learning day for them
After the Bombay High Court came down heavily on Mumbai Police for violating noise pollution norms during the Mahim Dargah fair last year, the police have decided to get themselves better equipped for tackling issues related to noise pollution.
According to a senior police officer, a training has been organised on April 26, the day which is also observed as the International Noise Awareness Day. "There is no doubt that our staff is not properly trained. Hence, it was decided to seek the help of an expert, and Sumaira Abdulali, Convenor of Awaaz Foundation, was invited for a detailed discussion," said the officer.
Meanwhile, Abdulali said that she is happy to help the Mumbai Police not only in understanding the nitty-gritties of the Noise Pollution Act, but also to share details of her own experiences that can help the police tackle the issue in a better way. "I am looking forward to a long-term partnership with the department. Together we not only can spread awareness regarding the harmful effects of noise pollution, but also can strengthen the enforcement," she said.
The activist added that she will propose that the noise pollution awareness camp should be conducted for every police station in Mumbai as well as for the traffic department.
©2017 Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.
Mahim fair: Bombay HC issues notice to cops for flouting noise rulesThe police had used loudspeakers at the Mahim police station in December, despite it being a silent zoneMUMBAI Updated: May 24, 2017 09:50 IST
Badri Chatterjee and Ayesha Arvind
The bench directed the state to inform it of the action it would take against these officers over the violations.(HT File Photo)
Ruling that “no breach of noise pollution norms in the city will be tolerated”, no matter what the occasion, the Bombay high court on Friday issued show-cause notices of contempt against the senior police inspector of the Mahim police station, and assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Mahim division, for using loudspeakers inside the police station compound during the Mahim Dargah Urus (Mahim Fair) in December.
Justice Abhay S Oka and justice AK Menon observed that the Mahim police’s conduct was a “gross breach of the high court’s judgments and orders” and that it was a ‘fit case‘ for taking action against the police officers who should have been the implementing authority for noise norms.
The bench directed the state to inform the court of the action it proposes to take against these officers over the violations. The court also dismissed the police’s argument that it had a valid license for the use of the loudspeakers saying that “the permission that was granted to the police was not for use of loudspeakers within the police station compound, but only to allow the procession to be taken through a particular route”.HT was the first to report the incident on December 13 last year that the inaugural procession at the Mahim Fair was as loud as 117.3 decibel (dB) (between 2.15pm and 3pm) – which is equivalent to the sound of a rock drilling machine. Incidentally, the sandal (procession) was carried out by the Mumbai police, the enforcement authority against noise pollution violations, near Mahim police station, a Silence Zone.
The observation was made by city-based non-governmental organisation Awaaz Foundation, which followed up the matter with a contempt plea filed against the Mahim police.
“It is very important that the police, as the implementation authority designated under the noise rules, are impeccable in following rules themselves,” said Sumaira Abdulali, petitioner and convener, NGO Awaaz Foundation. “HT reported the violation at the Mahim police station immediately after it happened, drawing attention to problems citizens face while trying to get the police to act against noise. The news report was mentioned during the first hearing of our contempt petition.”The court also junked the arguments of the government pleader that the police’s decision to allow for use of the loudspeakers was justified since they had secured the permission for the use of the same between 2pm and 10pm on that day, and also the fact that it had been tradition to celebrate the ten-day long festival of Urus and organise the inaugural procession at the police station since 1923.
The court said that no tradition or authority can allow for, or validate the breach of noise pollution norms in the city. “Does tradition give the right to the police to violate rules? Does it mean that since you are the police, you can violate noise norms even when the said area is demarcated as a silent zone?” the bench said.
The police however, argued that the decibel metres used by Abdulali were inept at recording minimum and maximum sound limits and thus, “must not be relied upon”.
The court, however, dismissed the argument and noted that the police on its own part had not taken any steps to record decibel level of the noise inside the station compound, and that after Abdulali’s complaint; the police had perfunctorily recorded the noise levels from only outside the police station compound.
HC has now directed the two officers to respond to the notices by June 9 this year, and the state to file its reply by May 3 this year.
Officials from the Mumbai police had told HT at the time that if legal norms were violated action would be taken against violators, irrespective of who they might be. “We would not like to comment as the matter is sub judice,” said Pramajit Singh Dahiya, deputy commissioner of police, zone 5.
Noise pollution: Bombay HC issues notice for loudspeakers inside police station during Mahim dargah urus
Noise pollution: Bombay HC issues notice for loudspeakers inside police station during Mahim dargah urus
MUSTAFA PLUMBER | Fri, 21 Apr 2017-02:45pm , DNA webdesk
The court has questioned why the police violated noise pollution rules despite the area being demarcated as a silence zone.
The Bombay High court on Friday issued a show cause notice of contempt against Assistant Commissioner of police (Mahim division) Shilvan Dhovale and senior police inspector Mahim, Milind Idekar for allowing the use of loudspeakers within the police station compound during the Mahim Dargah urus held last year. The court observed that it is a gross breach of the high court's judgments and orders and is a fit case for taking action against police officers concerned of ensuring implementation of noise pollution rules.
A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice A K Menon also directed the state to inform it by the month end about what action it proposes to take against the officers for violating noise pollution rules.
Coming down heavily on the argument made by the government pleader that permission was granted for the use of loudspeakers and that the urus celebration which starts from Mahim police station has been going on since the year 1923, the bench said, "Does it give you (police) the right to violate the rules? Even when the area which is demarcated as a silence zone."
The directions were issued after activist Sumaira Abdulali filed a contempt petition against the police. She claimed that on December 13, 2016 on the first day of the urus, she had gone to record the noise level readings. She gave a written complaint to the police and then also wrote to the Mumbai police Commissioner.
The police initially argued before the court that they had recorded the decibel levels outside the compound, but after Abdulali through her advocate showed pictures of loudspeakers used inside the police compound, the police accepted their mistake. The court then said "Prima facie this is a fit case for action against the officers and nobody will be spared." The police also tried to show to the court that the decibel metre used by Sumaira was not as per standards and did not have the means to record minimum and maximum sound limits, thus it cannot be relied upon. The court refuted the allegations after it found that acting on the complaint of Sumaira the police had recorded the decibel levels 15 minutes after.
The court has now asked the two officers to reply to the show cause notice by June 9, while the state has been told to reply on the proposed action it is going to take by May 3.
©2017 Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.
Is all the fuss only about azan?
The picture, taken on 2014 by Mulay, shows the members of the Mandal performing bhajans
NIRTIKA PANDITA | Fri, 21 Apr 2017-08:05am , DNAWith Sonu Nigam raising the issue of loudspeakers, it is about time to see it beyond the ambit of religion
Singer Sonu Nigam isn't the only person irked by blaring loudspeakers at odd hours of night and morning. Milind Sharad Mulay, a resident of central Mumbai, has lodged three police complaints and sent them numerous letters for the last four years against the organisers of Shri Akkalkot Swami Padayatra Mitra Mandal for playing music after 10pm. Mulay dispatched his latest letter to the deputy police commissioner in Worli at the end of March to have the Mandal uninstall the loudspeakers that it has installed on the ledge of his windows. Not only have the police not taken any action, but they'd responded to Mulay's complaints in 2016 by saying there has been no violation of noise limits.
The permissible decibel limit during daytime in India is upto 65decibels and not above 45 decibels at night, after 10pm, according to the Union Ministry of Environment. Noise above this prescribed decibel level can lead to hearing disabilities. Twenty-seven per cent of India's population suffers disabling hearing loss, according to a World Health Organisation's report in 2012. Another 48 per cent Indians over the age of 65 suffer from debilitating hearing loss as compared to just 18 per cent in high-income countries, the report adds. “People do not draw any link between noise pollution and heart disease,” says Sumaira Abdulali, environmentalist and convenor of NGO AWAAZ Foundation. “The last thing that is directly related to noise is mental health. Noise can push up adrenaline levels, which can make one angry.”
This is apparent in Mulay's case, who first lodged a complaint against the Mandal with the Shivaji Park police station in 2013. “The organisers take out a possession every year from Mumbai till Akkalkot in Solapur. Once their padayatra is over, they conduct the pooja here,” says Mulay, 49, a resident of NC Kelkar Road. Talking about how the bhajans and the aarti agonises his parents, aged 80 and 75, he has stated in his complaint that the senior citizens “suffer mental agony due to high noise”.
Mulay lodged complaints and sent letters to the senior police inspector again in 2014 and 2015, but there was no action. He then had to resort to filing Right to Information (RTI) pleas to find out what action was being taken. The RTI responses for each of his complaints revealed that “no action had been taken for the violation of Noise Pollution Rules, 2000” and also pointed that “no permission had been issued for the bhajan or the use of musical instruments for the said event by Shivaji Park police station”.
“Based on my complaints, three notices were sent to Ajay Sawant, one of the organisers of the Mandal,” says Mulay, adding that even his request for submission of noise level readings by the Shivaji Park police station to Maharashtra Pollution Control Board had not been answered.
After several failed attempts to draw the attention of authorities, Mulay wrote to Dadar assistant commissioner of police in 2016 only to receive a reply a year later stating that the “organisers had not violated the noise limits and hence no action had been taken”.
However, after procuring a copy of the report and panchanama of noise level readings, he learnt that the “noise levels had touched 103dB”, implying that the police officials had been making false statements.
Senior Inspector Gangadhar Sonawane while speaking to DNA said the organisers had the permission to conduct bhajan, maintianing that the decibel levels were in limit.
The Supreme Court has been clear in its orders that noise from places of worship or related to religious events should be treated like any other form of noise, and curbed by 10pm. Abdulali says that there is a lot of political will to not implement rules about noise limits. “The rules are made by the political establishment even though the decibel limits are fixed by the Bombay High Court,” says Abdulali and adds that while authorities are supposed to take action, “we all know that sometimes they do and sometimes they don't”. “We have to make them take action and that will happen only through public participation.”
Unfortunately, both she and Mulay agree that a majority of people are afraid to raise their voice or lodge complaints against those create noise pollution. Now that Sonu Nigam has raised his voice, perhaps people will take cognisance of the issue. And forunately for Nigam, the Shahi Imam of Lucknow, Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahli, who condemned Nigam's tonsuring, acknowledged that there is a need to set a decibel limit for mosques in residential areas. “Islam says if your neighbour is not happy with you, you can't make Allah happy either,” he said.
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Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.