You won’t suffer a noisy dahi handi in Mumbai, as speakers will fall silent | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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You won’t suffer a noisy dahi handi in Mumbai, as speakers will fall silent

Vendors protest alleged harassment by authorities, will not issue 12,000 loudspeakers in Mumbai

mumbai Updated: Aug 13, 2017 01:16 IST
Badri Chatterjee

Dahi handi across the city and state could be a silent affair this year.

A national body of sound and light professionals has decided its members will not issue 12,000 loudspeakers in Mumbai and over a lakh across the state on dahi handi and Independence Day, protesting against alleged police harassment, rude behaviour and the confiscating of their loudspeakers.

The Professional Audio and Lighting Association (PALA) has 7,000 members.

It called for a statewide ‘mute day’ on Tuesday and pointed out the law was being misinterpreted and that authorities were not correctly implementing the directions of the Supreme Court to control noise levels.

One of PALA’s main grouses is that police personnel measure the sound at speaker grilles and not away from it — resulting in a higher noise reading.

“So, frivolous cases are being filed, we are fined, and our equipment is confiscated. We cannot take such atrocities, abuse and harassment from authorities implementing the noise rules. In most cases we are treated worse than criminals and frankly, the matter has got out of hand,” said Roger Drego, president, PALA.

“We stand by our decision of a mute day and it is our final step to seeking justice for people from our profession.”

According to the SC order on noise rules, noise levels at the boundary of a public place where a loudspeaker or public address system is used should not exceed 10 decibel above the ambient noise standards for the area or 75 dB — whichever is lower.

READ: Ganesh mandals in Mumbai want silence zones gone

Peripheral noise levels at private functions should not, at the boundary of the private space, exceed by more than 5dB of the ambient noise standards for that area.

While Drego said PALA will abide by court orders, PALA alleged anti-noise activists such as Sumaira Abdulali and others submitted misleading facts to the courts.

“The Bombay high court is issuing strict directives,

including contempt notices and fines on the Mumbai police because of this. The police are aggravated and end up being harsh towards sound and light vendors,” said Manuel Dias, a PALA member.

Officials from the Mumbai police said they were doing nothing wrong. “We have been following orders issued by the SC and HC, and will continue to do so throughout the festive season,” said Rashmi Karandikar, spokesperson, Mumbai police.

Abdulali, the convenor of the Awaaz Foundation said, “We have observed decibel levels are violated by large margins during festivals. All we do is present the data to court, which then issues strict orders. If levels have gone as high as 123 dB, there is no question of where it’s being measured as safe limits are 50dB or lower.”

“Like we do every year, we will check noise violations during festivals this year too and see if the number of loudspeakers have actually reduced,” she said.