The state government may soon consider relaxing rules related to silence zones near schools.
On Monday, Mumbai city’s Guardian Minister Jayant Patil met representatives of Ganesh mandals from the island city at Mantralaya where the mandals requested the minister to relax silence zone norms after school hours for the 10-day festival.
The decision to relax these norms, however, may have to be taken after amending the law, Patil said.
There are 2,837 Ganesh mandals that put up pandals in the island city from Sion to Colaba, with a majority of them in Dadar, Parel and Lalbaug. There are 2,237 silence zones in the area near schools, hospitals and places of worship. If a mandal is located near a school, it has to follow norms governing silence zones even after school hours. Mandals want this changed.
“I think we can relax rules in a few silence zones, where Ganesh mandals put up their pandals, after 5 pm. However, if a relaxation is to be made we will be making an amendment in the law which will be permanent. So, every request will be looked at on a case-to-case basis,” Patil said.
The final decision will be taken on Tuesday in a meeting with Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Chandra Iyengar. Patil has also asked the city collector to declare September 22, 2010, the final day of Ganesh immersions, as a holiday. “The biggest problem we face in south Mumbai is the sea of people moving both ways,” Patil said. “If we declare a holiday for offices in the area then at least we can avoid office crowds getting stuck on congested roads and overcrowded trains.”
Patil once again cracked the whip on the BMC asking it to keep roads that get busy during Ganpati devoid of potholes. “Additional [Municipal] Commissioner Ashish Singhs, who was at the meeting, has assured me that as soon as there is a dry spell, the BMC will take care of the roads,” Patil said.