Ganesh mandals clueless about noise relaxation rules
While the state environment department said the collector was supposed to issue an order, the latter passed the buck back to the state government citing a recent Bombay high court ordermumbai Updated: Sep 05, 2016 11:11 IST
A day before one of the state’s nosiest festivals kicks off, Ganesh mandals were clueless about the four days they are permitted to play loud speakers beyond 10pm. While the state environment department said the collector was supposed to issue an order, the latter passed the buck back to the state government citing a recent Bombay high court order.
According to the Environment Protection Act, 1986, and Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, the use of loudspeakers or a public address system is banned from 10pm to 6am, except 15 days in a year, mostly during festivals. However, the time limit is extended up to 12 am during four days of Ganeshotsav.
The issue was raised by the umbrella body of the mandals in the city a day before the festival. “Every year, we write to the district collector to identify the four days when noise rules would be relaxed. But this year, we have neither been intimated by the district collectorate nor the state government,” said Naresh Dahibhavkar, president, Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti. “This will create confusion and noise rules might be violated during all 11 days.”
Last month, the Bombay HC directed the state to clarify its stance on the exemption given on 15 days in a year, for use of loudspeakers between 10pm and 12am. Noting that only 12 days have been specified, the court order stated the state cannot delegate the power of relaxing noise rules to anybody else, it said.
“According to the rules, there are four days when noise rules are relaxed during Ganeshotsav and the days are chosen differently by different districts. Therefore, the onus lies on the collector of each district to issue the notification,” said Malini Shankar, additional chief secretary to the state environment department. Collectorate officials said it had not issued any notification. “A comprehensive HC ruling from earlier this year made it clear that the collectors’ rights to draft this notification has been taken away and handed over to the state government,” said Ashwini Joshi, collector, Mumbai city.
State pollution control board officials said noise rules were generally relaxed during the four immersion days. “As per previous years, maximum processions are seen moving till 12 am during the four immersion days. However, there needs to be specific circular highlighting this undersigned by state department or collectorate for Mumbai police to take action,” said Sanjay Bhuskute, PRO, MPCB.
Sumaira Abdulali, convener of NGO Awaaz Foundation said, “In the absence of a notification, the 10pm deadline should stand and if mandals violate that, it will be a violation of HC rules.”