Criminal cases have been filed against garages that removed silencers from two-wheelers making the vehicles flout noise norms. HT had reported that Mahim residents had complained about noisy bikes in the area.
The Mahim police has filed cases against garages that were doing modifications on the bikes. While cases have been filed against six such garages in Mahim, 35 others were warned against modifying vehicles this way.
HT was the first to report on December 28 that Mahim and Bandra residents had complained that they were kept awake by people racing noisy bikes at night. “From January first week, in collaboration with the Mumbai traffic police, we began investigating, which garages are responsible for modifications to track down bikers,” said Milind Idekar, senior police inspector, Mahim police station. “We identified six garages carrying out such activities in violation of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1998. They have been warned with charges against them but FIRs were not filed. If these garages continue to entertain bikes and help modify them, we will ask the civic body to cancel their licenses and shut them down.”
Idekar added that police spoke to the owners of 35 other garages and told them about noise rules, Environment Protection Act, 1972 and Motor Vehicles Act. “We told all garage owners to check the authenticity of all bikes coming to them. They need to check whether they have proper licenses, registration papers or other identifications,” he said adding, “If there are any violators, the names, bike numbers and mobile numbers need to be taken down and the police needs to be informed for further action.”
According to a detailed study carried out by an NGO Awaaz Foundation for noise generated from different vehicles in Mumbai, two-wheelers showed average noise levels up to 90dB while the maximum permissible level is 80dB. When silencers are removed, levels increase to 100 -110 dB, which is as loud as a discotheque.
Senior police officials said more bikers will be prosecuted for breaking noise norms. “We have taken action at some garages in Kurla as well. We are targeting the garages and taking action against the list of bikers visiting them in conjugation with the civic body,” said Paramjit Singh Dahiya, deputy commissioner of police, zone 5. “It is very difficult to catch the bikers in the act so we decided to take action at the source.”
In December, Mahim residents Irfan Machiwala and Farooque Dhala wrote to the Mumbai police asking them to take action against bikers removing silencers or installing shrill horns. “We welcome the move by the police but there needs to be stringent action by setting examples where these bikers are arrested or the civic body seals such garages,” said Dhala.
“While action is being taken, we request Mumbaiites to record videos, take pictures and note down the number plate of vehicles violating noise rules. They should either inform the motor vehicles department or the local police station,” said Pravin Gedam, transport commissioner.
Penalty for modifying bikes
Tampering with silencers is a violation of the Central Motor Vehicles Act 119 and 120, and invites a penalty of Rs1,000 for the first offence and Rs 2,000 for repeated offences.
If a vehicle emits over 80 decibels it is considered to be causing noise pollution. Bikes zipping past the western suburbs have been recorded to be as loud as 100-110 dB by residents and activists during the night time, which is as loud as a discotheque or pneumatic hammer.
Noise standards as laid down in Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000
Category of area Day time limit (in dB) (6.30am to 8.30pm) Night time limit (in dB) (8.30pm – 6.30am)
Residential area 55 45
Silence zone 50 40