Even as anti-noise activists and citizens are crying themselves hoarse over the flouting of norms during the recently-concluded Ganesh festival, political parties are now demanding relaxation of noise pollution rules for Navratri, which begins on October 16.
During the nine-day festival, politicians want relaxation in both timings for use of loudspeakers and instruments, and permitted decibel levels for dandiya celebrations and are playing the tradition card for their argument.
"Religious festivals are a part of our tradition and efforts should be made to make them memorable," said Raj Purohit, Mumbai BJP President. "Except areas near hospitals, we should allow people to celebrate," he added.
Various BJP units in the city take active participation in organising dandiya functions.
With regard to the inconvenience caused to residents during noisy celebrations, Purohit said: "It's just a handful of habitual complainants who create a ruckus, while a majority have no problem at all," he said.
Alliance partner Shiv Sena accused the state of enforcing regressive rules. "Instead of tackling issues such as price rise and corruption, the state is busy with misplaced priorities of enforcing timings and noise levels," rued Sena legislator Ravindra Waikar.
The Maharshtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) claimed that such festivals are good for citizens and should be encouraged. "With people in the city reaching home late, it makes sense to relax timings," said MNS legislator Mangesh Sangle. "However, even organisers should take care to play soothing music instead of loud sounds," he added.
In a bad sing for activists, the ruling Congress-NCP doesn't seem entirely opposed to this. "Since it is the people who celebrate, there is no harm in extending timings," said said NCP legislator Kiran Pawaskar.
He said that even law enforcing agencies find it difficult to enforce these rules.
"Our traditions have always encouraged festivals and there is no harm they result in some noise," said Congress legislator Amin Patel.