Two top public hospitals in the city are violating silence zone norms (see box) by allowing loudspeakers at Ganpati pandals inside their premises. KEM Hospital in Parel and Sion Hospital have the pandals, situated next to patient facilities, with loudspeakers playing devotional songs.
At KEM Hospital, the pandal has a loudspeaker that abuts the out patient department (OPD) building, where thousands of patients are treated every day. The dean’s office is also next to the pandal.
Two loudspeakers placed outside the pandal at Sion Hospital are near the medical college building. When HT visited the hospital on Tuesday afternoon, the loudspeakers were blaring Marathi devotional songs.
Patients visiting the hospitals are unhappy with the loud music at the pandals. “Patients coming in are already tense. The loud sound only adds to their anxiety,” said Sewree resident Prakash Chowke, 52, while waiting to be treated for a liver ailment at KEM Hospital.
Hospital authorities, however, defended the festivities. “As there was a puja on Tuesday, people in the pandal had turned on the loudspeaker, but it was playing music at a low volume,” said Dr Sanjay Oak, dean, KEM Hospital.
Dr Sandhya Kamat, dean at Sion Hospital, said, “It (the loudspeakers) does not affect the patients. Keeping in mind the sentiments of people, we have to allow it (Ganpati pandal).”
At most public hospitals, employees put up Ganpati pandals. But, other hospitals have managed to balance tradition with sensitivity. “Our speakers are small, so the patients are not disturbed,” said Abhimanyu More, an organiser from BYL Nair Hospital.