Goa seeks relaxation in noise pollution rules for late night festivals, parties
The Goa government has written to the Centre seeking relaxations under the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control Rules), 2000
The Goa government has written to the Centre seeking local level relaxations in noise pollution rules for designated ‘entertainment zones’ in the state to allow late night parties and celebrations in a bid to protect the interests of the tourism industry as well as ‘local festivities’.
The state’s environment minister Nilesh Cabral wrote a letter to Union minister of forests and climate change, Bhupendra Yadav, on January 4 in this regard, seeking relaxations under the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control Rules), 2000, and placed a copy of it in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.
The letter said that Goa’s coastal areas “need an independent categorisation or zone as well as the definition of daytime and night time” where the limits will be “as applicable to industrial areas” and the “day time will mean 6am to 12 midnight and night time shall mean 12 midnight to 6am.”
This will require amendment in the definition of night time in Rule 2 (1), which says “night time means the period between 10pm and 6am”, by insertion of the term “except in Entertainment Zone where night time means period between 12 midnight to 6am”
The tourism industry is the backbone of the Goan economy and also a main source of livelihood for the local population. Being a popular beach destination since the 70’s, today the tourist footfalls are about one crore as against the local population of about 15.5 lakh. Goa has also evolved as a wedding destination as well a destination for conventions, events and conferences.
In his letter, Cabral has also sought amendments to the rules to permit notifying ‘festive’ days at the village and municipality level in order that the local feasts or zatra (annual festivals) can be celebrated.
Presently the rules allow every state government to issue a notification permitting use of public address systems during night hours (between 10pm to 12 midnight) on or during cultural, religious or festive occasions of a limited duration not exceeding 15 days in all, during a calendar year, in advance.
“This gets exhausted by the state government to hold recognised state festivals. Therefore, the state is not able to permit the traditional festivals which have been going on for centuries… thus depriving the local traditional festivals their rightful need for celebrating their festivals,” Cabral said in his letter.
The state has now sought that a fresh provision be inserted allowing the use of loud speakers or public address systems between 10pm to 12 midnight “in every village or municipality on the day of annual zatra and or feast which will be notified by the state government”.
Late last year, the Bombay high court at Goa took up a petition which alleged that several party venues were playing loud music well into the night even on regular non-festive days while the enforcement authorities looked away, much to the chagrin of local residents.
Cabral said that the state government has sought that “designated and recognized venues” be allowed to use loudspeakers between 10pm to 12 midnight provided that the venue is recognised and authorized by the local state pollution control board and has installed sound barriers/fencing all around the periphery and online continuous noise level metre with electronic display of real time noise levels on the periphery of the venue.
“The government will pursue the matter with the central ministry to consider and carry out the necessary amendments,” Cabral said.