Sleepless on link road, construction din to blameTarini Puri| TNN | Nov 29, 2016, 08.55 AM IST
PUNE: On most days, Priti Shahane's daughters, aged four and nine years, find it difficult to sleep beyond 6am, although they are not expected to be up for school before 7.30am. The reasonhigh decibel noise from the construction site of an upcoming residential-cum-commercial project across their residence at Kumar Shantiniketan on Sus Pashan road.
Complaining to the police and on the Pune Municipal Corporation's mobile app has had little impact, Priti reveals.
With contractors rushing to meet deadlines, affected citizens say work at most project sites begins early in the morning and continues late into the night. The noise of metal clanging against metal, or excavators running against hard rock, the banging for carpentry jobs or the constant whirring of mixers preparing concrete for construction have made their lives a living nightmare.
The result is not just broken sleep cycles, but also other health concerns like headaches, irritability and a host of side-effects that many are not even able to directly blame on the persisting noise pollution around them. Arguably, the worst affected are those staying at home for most of the day including children, the elderly and the sick.
Describing the tough time she has been facing, Ambika Sharma, another resident of Kumar Shantiniketan said, "I have one-year old twins and both of them are light sleepers. They usually wake up startled with all the massive bangs that can be heard throughout the day."
Work starts very early in the morning and the noise and dust is intolerable, concurs a resident of Vanshaj Prestigeanother residential complex directly impacted by the construction.
Vikramsingh Rajput, project manager at one such construction site in the area, admits they are under pressure of promised delivery schedules. "We have to keep up with the deadlines. The labourers don't mind working extra hours as it means they can send a little extra money to their families. We have received complaints from residents nearby and have accommodated as much as possible. But we too want to maximize our output," he said.
Responding to TOI's queries on the action taken to reduce the impact, Darshan Kalekar, senior engineer of Amar Builders (the company constructing the property opposite Shantiniketan) said, "We have issued a stern warning to the contractor to not start work early. All workers have been asked to assemble not before 7.30am, so that work can begin at 8am."
Not too far, some residents of Felicita Cooperative Housing Society even considered installing noise-blocking glass, revealed its secretary Manish Mishra. Several wings of the residential complex share a boundary wall with an under-construction office building. Describing the pain they endure, Mishra said, "It's like someone hammering against your head the whole day. The fact that Pune is over hard rock, probably makes it worse." Chairman of the society Raman Ramchandran said, "Residents complain of difficulty in sleeping and studying because of the constant sound of digging next door. The first two-three months were the worst."
Analysis of average noise levels at construction sites, undertaken recently by the Mumbai-based Awaaz Foundation, revealed most are flouting the rules for permissible noise levels. According to Sumaira Abdulali, the prolonged daily exposure makes it worse for those directly impacted. "Any noise beyond 85dB is harmful for health. It is up to the local civic bodies to formulate regulations for construction sites," she said.
The police in the area appears toothless on the matter and passes the responsibility to the Pune Municipal Corporation. Dayanand Dhome, in-charge of Chatushrungi police station said, "Complaints received on the 100 number are immediately attended to by us. However, I am not aware of the rules regarding construction noise."
What the pollution boards say:
* Central Pollution Control Board: Noise limits are prescribed for construction equipment at the manufacturing stage itself. Besides, regulatory agencies have been directed to enforce the standards to control and regulate noise pollution
* Maharashtra Pollution Control Board: All builders are required to obtain consent of the board before starting construction. The board has laid down permissible noise levels and work timings for such work. In case of grievances, citizens can complain online to the MPCB, or submit an application at the board's office. Verification of the same is undertaken, and action taken thereof.
How the Noise Affects You
* Mental disturbances including irritation, misunderstandings, decreased working capacity, poor concentration, etc
* General fatigue
* Hypertension and stress
* Social and behavioural changes: annoyance and aggression
* Sleep disturbances
* Cardiovascular changes
* Reduced performance, cognitive function, attention span and memorization abilities
* Gradual hearing loss
Source: WHO Guidelines for Community Noise
Much Beyond the Permissible
Work/ Machinery-------------------------------Normal Noise Levels (In dB)
Pneumatic drillers (for excavation)------------100
Latest CommentMany people still don't fully understand the effect that the constant noise around them is having on their mind and bodyTarini Gulati Puri
Source: Awaaz Foundation
Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.