With neither the Maharashtra state government nor Mumbai administration taking a call on noise regulations until the last minute, the Secretariat was forced to function on Monday – a holiday – to issue a notification on the same.
“We have received circulars from the state department, the Mumbai city collector now, and the response from suburban collectorate is expected on Tuesday. What is generally done in the beginning of the year has been sent on the first day of the festival this year,” said Naresh Dahibhavkar, president, Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS). “Owing to the report in HT, they opened Mantralaya (secretariat) on a holiday to draft the notification.”
The Maharashtra environment department on Monday issued a circular notifying mandals on which four days loudspeakers and public address systems will be allowed during the 11-day festival, hours after the Mumbai city collector relaxed noise rules for all Ganesh mandals.
“We issued the notification on Monday because there was a delay due to a lot of back-and-forth within the administration. As per the essence of a recent court order, in matters related to noise pollution, the decision should not be left with the collectors and state should take a call, hence we issued the circular,” said Malini Shankar, additional chief secretary to the state environment department, adding that the Mantralaya was opened on a holiday for the work.
Hindustan Times reported that Ganesh mandals were not aware about the days when they would be permitted to use loudspeakers beyond 10 pm. While the state environment department said the collector was supposed to issue an order, the collector cited a Bombay high court order and put the onus back on the state government.
Last month, the Bombay high court dictated its order raising concerns over increasing noise pollution and lack of enforcement of noise rules. “Notwithstanding several detailed orders by this court, there is large-scale violation of Noise Pollution Rules, especially during religious festivals,” said the division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Amjad Sayed, during the recent hearing.
The notification identified the four immersion days – September 6, 9, 10 and 15 – as when the rules will be relaxed and loudspeakers allowed till midnight across the state. The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, bans the use of loudspeakers or public address systems from 10pm to 6am.
For full coverage on this year’s Ganesh festival, click here