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Fewer events, not adherence to norms, makes Dahi Handi a less noisy affair
Tuesday, 8 September 2015 - 8:25am IST | Agency: dna | From the print edition
"In Mumbai, we found the highest decibel levels of 105dB and 100dB during evening, in Khar and where drums were used besides loudspeakers at Worli Naka.
Out with decibel meters in hand, anti-noise pollution activists on Sunday were pleasantly surprised to note that levels this Gokulashtami were lower than those recorded last year. It was, however, more because of the number of Dahi Handievents being less than people following the norms laid out for noise levels.
"In Mumbai, we found the highest decibel levels of 105dB and 100dB during evening, in Khar and where drums were used besides loudspeakers at Worli Naka. Both these functions were organised by political parties, as were almost all events using loudspeakers. Also, the height restriction on human pyramids too was violated at functions organised by political parties, with children seen on the top tiers," said Sumaira Abdulali, convenor of Awaaz Foundation, adding that noise pollution levels were monitored by Dr Mahesh Bedekar in Thane and activist Ajay Marathe in Navi Mumbai.
"In Thane, there were a lot of violations as most events were organised by local politicians; hence, even the police were mere spectators. At Jambhali Naka, the road towards station was completely blocked and noise recorded was around 90dB, while at Tembhi Naka, the road towards Thane Civil Hospital was blocked and two mandaps were erected. At Sankalp, the approach road was blocked, with the mandap covering more than half of it," said Bedekar, who has filed a public interest litigation on noise pollution during festivals and also raised the issue of pandals erected by organisers without requisite permission from the Bombay High Court.
Marathe said that normally Dahi Handi is a grand affair in Navi Mumbai, but, it seems, due to the NCP backing out there were hardly any events to be seen. "I travelled from Airoli to Belapur, covering most parts of Navi Mumbai, but did not find any major violations. The credit also goes to the Navi Mumbai police, especially Vashi police station that put up numbers of senior police officers from the anti-noise pollution cell," said Marathe.
Andheri resident Rajesh Sharma said, "This year, the fanfare was far less than previous years, and yet, at certain locations, there was problems because the organisers had placed huge speakers. I hope that due to fear of the HC order, Ganesh mandals follow noise level norms."
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Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.