93-year-old woman from south Mumbai admitted to hospital, kin blame noisy Metro construction

She was suffering from atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeats), glaucoma and abdominal pain and was admitted to a hospital in south Mumbai

mumbai Updated: Sep 13, 2017 10:37 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Metro construction near Hira S Pithawalla’s home.

A 93-year-old woman , who is wheel-chair bound and a heart patient, was admitted to a hospital owing to the ‘noisy’ Metro construction work next to her home at Dalamal Park Society in Cuffe Parade on Sunday.According to the family, Hira S Pithawalla has been having a harrowing time for the past two months.

She was suffering from atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeats), glaucoma and abdominal pain and was admitted to a hospital in south Mumbai. Her granddaughter Havovi Sukhadwala wrote to the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) alleging that construction disturbed her sleep patterns that led to irregular bowel movements and recurring pain.

On August 12, the Bombay high court temporarily restrained the MMRC from carrying out any construction or ancillary work on the Metro 3 line between 10pm and 6am. Applicant and advocate Robin Jaisinghani filed the petition complaining that Metro work was being carried out in violation of noise pollution rules that led to the interim order.

This case study has been attached along with his petition, which is up for hearing on Wednesday. Meanwhile, residents said MMRC contractors began work at midnight on Sunday and only stopped after residents told them about the court orders. She felt strong tremors which give her strong palpitation in her heart and fear due to the high decibel (dB) sounds of 100 dB (as loud as a helicopter at 100 feet), her family members said. Noise Pollution Control Rules prescribe maximum noise levels of 55dB during the day and 45 dB at night in a residential zone.

Sukhadwala told HT that the metro work has affected her grandmother’s mental and physical well-being. “MMRC should not underestimate the importance of sound sleep for six to eight hours, especially for senior citizens. She has diverticulosis - a condition in which small, bulging pouches develop in the digestive tract – that got aggravated as a result of lack of sleep at night and during afternoon hours due to piling work for Metro 3,” she said.

She added that the lack of sleep led a drop in her immunity levels. “This further led to muscular dystrophy especially of her core abdominal muscles that lead to toxin build up infection and inflammation at her colon. The pain started almost a month and half ago till it became unbearable till last Sunday,” said Sukhadwala

The senior citizens family requested MMRC to ensure no work was carried out between 10pm and 6am even after the HC hears the matter. “We feel your organisation is very crude in their approach towards the project affected party. No amount of medication compared to sleep at night will help her recover faster,” said Sukhadwala adding that MMRC never responded to her letter.

When HT asked MMRC for a response, they refused to comment regarding the matter.


“High noise levels between 95-100dB can affect the inner ear and the nervous system. Prolonged exposure to these noise levels, especially for children and senior citizens, can cause irreversible hearing loss. We advise most of our patients in such cases to use hearing plugs,” said Dr Bachi Hathiram, head of department ENT, Nair Hospital and senior ENT consultant, HN Reliance Foundation Hospital.

6,000 residents affected by noisy Metro work, says petitioner

Applicant and advocate Robin Jaisinghani, resident of Cuffe Parade, who filed the petition complaining that Metro work in south Mumbai is being carried out in violation of noise pollution rules that led to the interim order by the Bombay high court, said that almost 6,000 people from about 10 apartment complexes in Cuffe Parade were affected by high noise levels.

“There are two types of people – one who are tolerating this nuisance without raising a voice against it and others who are scared to say anything. Ever since this work started, I have not been the same person because of severe sleep deprivation. All of us are falling sick. It has led to mental health issues, anxiety and palpations,” said Jaisinghani.

First Published: Sep 13, 2017 10:37 IST