Dear Mr. Ajoy Mehta
Subject: Application for declaration of my mixed Residential/Silence Zone category area as ‘No Honking Zone’ and ‘Silence Zone’
Under existing Noise Pollution and Motor Vehicles Rules, citizens may apply to have their residential or mixed areas declared as Silence Zones/No honking Zones. Under this application, after consultation with residents, please notify the area from Reshma Apartments to Parishram Apartments, Nargis Dutt Road, Bandra West as Silence Zones/No Honking Zones.
According to the interpretation of the State Government, Silence Zones were de-notified in September 2017 and now, several months later, there has been no action to protect citizens from noise pollution due to honking and other noise sources. When Awaaz Foundation recently measured noise from traffic in Bandra, the decibel level of horns reached a maximum of 107 db, causing inconvenience and health problems to all of us who live on roads with vehicular traffic.
Under provisions of the Notification dated 31st July 2014 of the Maharashtra State Environment Department entitled ‘Standards for Horns, Sirens and Multi toned Horns for the Vehicles plying in the State of Maharashtra and their Use’ (“Vehicular Horn Rules”) and of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2010 (“the Noise Rules”) as amended by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on 10th August 2017, the portion of Nargis Dutt Road, Bandra West including the residential buildings Reshma Apartments, Imperial Heights and Parishram may be declared as a ‘No Honking Zone’ and ‘Silence Zone’ after a process of due public consultation.
Section 5 of the Vehicular Horn Rules states:
“5. Irrespective of the norms stipulated in 1,2, and 3 above, following areas on the State of Maharashtra are declared as “no honking zones/areas” wherein any kind of honking from the motor vehicle is prohibited at any given time except during extreme emergency situations.
(d) Residential areas, after due public consultation will be declared as ‘No Honking Zones’ by concern Local Body. No honking will be allowed in such areas except for the timings as stipulated by the Local Body.”
Note 4. of the Schedule to the Noise Rules states “Mixed categories of areas may be declared as one of the four above mentioned categories by the competent authority.”
According to the Government’s interpretation of the Noise Rules amended on 10th August 2017, Silence Zones earlier identified and declared by the BMC are no longer in operation as they have not been specifically notified by the State Government. In the period from August 2017 till date, Silence Zones have remained unprotected from all noise sources , causing great hardship to residents of Mumbai.
Silence Zone Rules were first implemented in 27th September 2003, when the Bombay High Court ordered the police to verify and certify before granting any loudspeaker permissions in a Silence Zone as defined under the Noise Rules. On 18th July 2005, the Supreme Court of India ordered other noise sources such as honking to be added to the prohibitions in Silence Zones. In February 2009, the Court ordered the Government to identify and put up Silence Zone boards within one week. The Ward offices of the BMC identified more than 1200 Silence Zones in Mumbai and put up boards on site. Citizens and citizens’ groups also participated in the exercise of identification through interaction with their local Ward offices.
On 31st July 2014, after the National Green Tribunal ordered the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to recommend appropriate restrictions on the decibel levels of sirens and horns, the Vehicular Horn Rules were notified, which provide specifically for citizens’ to participate in making their areas as ‘No Horn Zones.’
The area for which this request for a Horn Free Zone and Silence Zone is a mixed Residential/Silence Zone area on Nargis Dutt Road, Bandra West, where the Government may declare a Silence Zone after public consultation.
Since there has been a delay of several months already in notifying the already identified Silence Zones and/or in identifying Silence Zones by the BMC, I request that the procedure to notify this area under the existing provisions of law which allows for citizens’ inputs should be undertaken immediately both as a ‘No Honking Zone’ and as a ‘Silence Zone.’
Thank you and with regards.