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State yet to relax silence zone norms

Will Ganesh immersion processions drown silence zone norms this year too ?

mumbai Updated: Aug 12, 2010 02:03 IST
HT Correspondent

Will Ganesh immersion processions drown silence zone norms this year too ?

If the state government’s attitude is any indication, Ganesh Mandals are unlikely to be deterred by noise pollution norms. While the state gives three days relaxation to the festivals allowing revelries to continue till midnight but this relaxation dos not apply to silence zones, defined as 100 m area near schools, courts, hospitals and religious institutions.

The state government was to finalise relaxations to these norms on Wednesday but officials could not reach a consensus. The environment department has asked Ganesh mandals to self regulate to stick to the noise levels of 50 Db in silence zones. NGOs say self regulation has not worked in the past.

“If the state wants to it, can implement the norms in toto. This was done in 2008 where Ganesh processions were asked to not use loudspeakers, firecrackers in silence zones,” said Sumaira Abdulali, founder of Awaaz.

The state is looking to relax parameters that define silence zones. On Wednesday, it was decided that schools will not come under silence zone parameters on weekends and that only religious institution recognised by the government would come under the zone purview.

“We will finalise the silence zone norms by next week. Ganesh processions should abide by the silence zone norms but considering people’s sentiments, it will be difficult to catch every violation,” said environment secretary Valsa Nair Singh.

Abdulali said if the state went ahead with its own amendments she would approach the court.

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