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Dandiya finale could drum up a storm

Residents need to prepare themselves for a noisy finale to the ongoing Navratri festival, as the celebrations, most of which are held close to residential areas, continue to flout noise norms and exceed permissible decibel limits.

mumbai Updated: Oct 22, 2012 01:01 IST

Residents need to prepare themselves for a noisy finale to the ongoing Navratri festival, as the celebrations, most of which are held close to residential areas, continue to flout noise norms and exceed permissible decibel limits. The situation is likely to get worse on the last two days of the festival, when the state has permitted use of traditional instruments till 12 pm.

As part of its ongoing campaign of tracking noise levels this Navrati, HT reporters and anti-noise activists Sudhir Badami and Sumaira Abdulali visited eight venues adjacent to residential areas on Saturday. At all locations, noise levels ranged between 83 decibels (dB) and 101 dB. According to rules, the maximum decibel levels permitted in a residential area before 10pm is 55dB and after 10pm is 45dB. In a silence zone, maximum the decibel levels permitted before 10pm is 50dB and after 10pm is 40 dB.

While some residents had complaints about the noise, some said they didn’t mind it, as it was part of the festive celebrations.

At the Sankalp Siddhi Society off the Western Express highway in Goregaon, loud speakers blared music up to 97 dB, but for third-floor resident Sandeep Yadav, this wasn’t a problem. “This is only for a few days and all of us enjoy the festival. If it gets too noisy, we just shut the windows,” said Yadav.

However, at the Ganesh Nagar Society in Goregaon’s Gogtewadi, Shashikant Alawne 71, was disturbed by the noise from a Navratri venue 200 m away. “We have to keep the windows shut when the music is being played. It is difficult to have conversations in the house,” said Alawne.

Jayant Vidwans, 51, a resident of the society, had filed a complaint about the excessive noise from the venue at the Vanrai police station on Friday,

An officer from the police station had confirmed the complaint earlier on Saturday, but when HT visited the Ganesh Nagar Society, the noise level recorded was 92 dB, more than the noise level of 85 dB that Vidwans had measured on Friday through an application on his smartphone.

Abdulali said that the situation had improved slightly over the years. “Most organisers now adhere to the 10 pm deadline and police are prompt in keeping a check. However, noise levels have still not come down.”

“The way forward is to enjoy festivals with consideration for everyone’s health and well-being,” said activist Sudhir Badami.