The state government has asked mandals to maintain silence zone rules through the Ganesh festival that starts on Saturday.
The rules are applicable within a 100-mt radius of educational institutes, hospitals, courts and religious places. Within such zones, noise levels must not exceed 40 decibels at night and 50 decibels in the daytime.
This means that the pandal loudspeakers will have to be lower in volume than, say, motorcycles which generate normally 75 to 100 decibels. Rickshaws normally emit 80 to 95 decibels.
Over 1.18 lakh idols will be installed in the city, of which 10,000 are sarvajanik (open to all) and 1.1 lakh in homes.
Norms in the 1,122 silence zones demarcated in Mumbai will not be relaxed for the festival. “We met with mandals and asked them to stick the rules and restrain use of loudspeakers after the stipulated time,” said Environment Secretary Valsa Nair Singh. The state is in the process of relaxing noise norms near schools and hospitals, but the new norms will not be applicable this year.
“If mandals don’t keep noise levels down, the police must ensure they do so. The civic body’s role was restricted to identifying the zones,” Nair Singh said.
Mandals are not happy. “We will try to restrict use of loudspeakers, but there is a nursing home, school or college at every corner. If all these are silence zones, it is difficult for us to function,” said Naresh Dahibawkar, secretary, Ganeshotsav Saman-vay Samiti, the coordination committee of all city mandals.
Additional Municipal Comm-issioner Aseem Gupta said several mandals fall in these zones at Parel, Grant Road, Matunga and Girgaum — where the celebrations are most intense. “Noise norms will have to maintained. Police will enforce the law.”