Five months after Mumbai was adjudged the noisiest city in India, a city-based non-profit has complained to the civic body, accusing it of not identifying Silence Zones or introducing noise abatement strategies as a part of its draft development plan.
In a complaint sent to the civic body chief Ajoy Mehta and other members of the development plan committee on Sunday, anti-noise campaigners, Awaaz Foundation, highlighted that all proposals under the revised draft development plan (DP) 2034 were planned without incorporating a baseline noise-mapping study.
The last time the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had a plan for Mumbai, experts pointed out several errors, and it had to be withdrawn. Earlier this year, the BMC released a revised DP, which promised to address concerns while proposing new measures for development.
“Many proposed projects appear to raise already unhealthy noise levels. Silence Zones are not marked,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation. “The revised DP permits urban helipads and restaurants atop private rooftops and roads through Silence Zones, which will further increase noise levels.”
This was the second time the NGO submitted suggestions and objections to the corporation after concerns were ignored in the first draft DP. “A noise mapping study of Mumbai needs to be conducted at the earliest and its findings need to be integrated into the new DP before finalisation,” said Abdulali.
Former civic chief, V Ranganathan said both DPs prepared in terms of Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act did not address the serious issue of noise pollution at all. “The government needs to identify primary sources for noise, develop methodologies for mapping and highlight their significance in the DP. They need to find out what is being done abroad to mitigate such issues,” he said.
However, senior officials from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) said noisy activities can be estimated from the current plan. “It can be understood from the revised DP that marked sites such as public areas, educational establishments, religious places and hospitals are silence zones and noise can be monitored accordingly,” said Uma Adusumilli, chief of planning, MMRDA. “Hence, noise mapping need not be incorporated in the DP. It could be an independent exercise.”
Civic officials said they welcomed the suggestions, but only a review committee can incorporate changes in the proposal after July 29. “A six- to seven-member review committee will consider what changes can be made in the current proposal. The team will consist of officials from the state government and the municipal corporation,” said a senior official in charge of revising the development plan, on condition of anonymity.