Jun 26 2016 : The Times of India (Mumbai)
Roaring bikes multiply in neighbourhoods, but just 18 riders fined for nuisance this yr
While bikes with modi fied exhaust pipes that can wake up the dead with their ear-defeaning firing sound are on the rise, the number of bikers who are being booked for riding them has been on the decline over the past few years.This year till date, merely 18 bikers have been booked for the offence and fined Rs 6,000 compared with 56 cases and Rs 20,500 collected in fine in 2015--again a dip from 77 persons booked and Rs 28,000 penalty collected in 2014.These bikes are a major source of noise pollution in the city. TOI has been running a campaign against noise pollution in association with Awaaz Foundation.
Few in the city are aware that any alteration to a factory model is illegal under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.Any alteration that results in an up to 10% increase in the weight of a vehicle must be done with the manufacturer as well as the regional transport office's consent.
While changes to exhaust pipes are not allowed, removing the catalytic converter, a component fitted to the exhaust pipe, is the easiest way to boost a bike's vroom. Tuning the engine and changing the brake sys tem is another method.
According to mechanics, noisy silencers are imported from Bangkok, Taiwan and China and priced anywhere between Rs 8,000 and 35,000.These can be fitted onto cars too. “In India, copies of original imported silencers are created to meet increasing demand from youngsters.These copies are manufactured in Delhi and Agra and sold in various cities. Apart from these silencers, there are also boosters that are forcibily fitted on to a bike's silencer to create bike racinglike sounds,“ said Akleem Ansari alias `Chhoto Mechanic' from Agripada. Most of those who modify their bike silencers are in the age group of 18 to 25.
There is much demand for copies of silencers manufactured in Punjab, Jaipur, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune. While silencers from Punjab are said to be the noisiest and mostly meant for Bullet bikes, those from Jaipur and Bangalore emit a typical racing bike-like sound. “Silencers made in Pune, on the other hand, produce the least noise. There is a huge demand for silencers from Pune--but from those who detest noise,“ said Waqar Khan, a mechanic from Vakola in Santacruz. The police and transport departments have turned a blind eye to the flourishing illegal business, except in Bangalore where cops have cracked down on noisy bikes.
In Mumbai, several citizens, particularly seniors, have written to police authorities on how bikers have destroyed the peace in their neighbourhood.
Satish Seth, a Kalina resident, says whenever residents call up the main police control room to complain against noisy bikes, cops take down the details but by the time they arrive, the errant biker vanishes. “After the cops are gone, they return on the streets, which they use as a racing track. Most of these bikers disturb us late in the night when we are trying to catch up on sleep after a hard day's work,“ said Shamim Siddiqui from Santacruz East.
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Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.