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Helpline attendants in Mumbai were not told to register noise complaints, BMC admits in court

The BMC, in an affidavit, told the court that it has now come up with a new toll-free number.

mumbai Updated: Nov 04, 2017 13:39 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
noise pollution,Mumbai News,Noise helplines
In August, the BMC had submitted a list of telephone numbers in the court containing numbers on which citizens can call and complain about noise violations. (HT File )

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) submitted an affidavit in Bombay high court on Thursday, admitting that Mumbaiites were unable to file complaints pertaining to noise pollution because the attendants receiving their calls on the helpline numbers were not instructed to register noise complaints.

The BMC told the court that it has now come up with new toll-free numbers (see box), other than the existing one, on which noise pollution complaints can be registered.

HT had reported in a three-part series, between October 16 and 18, that the helplines run by the BMC and the government, where Mumbaiites can file complaints about noise pollution, were either defunct or do not accept complaints.

In August, the BMC had submitted a list of telephone numbers in the court containing numbers on which citizens can call and complain about noise violations.

This was done after the court suggested that all municipal corporations set up a complaint mechanism with the help of the police. Anti-noise campaigner, Awaaz Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, had filed an affidavit drawing the court’s attention to the defunct helplines.

Thursday’s affidavit filed by Anand Laxman Wagaralkar, deputy municipal commissioner, BMC, states that of the two toll-free numbers – 1292 and 1293 – the latter is not working owing to ‘some administrative
problems’.

“I humbly submit that the staff on duty attending 1292 was the contractual operator deployed by our contractor. The concerned telephone operator Snehlata Patil was not fully aware about complaints relating to noise pollution,” read the affidavit.

HT called the telephone numbers provided for each of the 24 municipal wards, the two toll-free numbers (1292 and 1293) as well as the helpline (1916).

While the phone numbers in most ward offices are not working or are unattended, the phone attendants on toll-free numbers and ward offices such as F-South (Parel), G-North (Dadar), A (Colaba), D (Grant Road) ward and K-East (Andheri East) refused to take note of noise violations and asked us to file the complaint directly with the police.

The affidavit added that a meeting was called at Wagaralkar’s office on October 24.

Wagaralkar told HT that the new complaint number was made active on Friday. When HT called the helpline, the operator responded saying it was a dedicated control number for registering noise complaints.

“We have deputed BMC officers at the complaint centre at G North ward office where all noise pollution complaints will be directed . They will be working 24x7 in three shifts — 8am to 4pm, 4pm to 12 am, and 12am to 8am — to ensure not a single complaint is missed. These complaints will be immediately forwarded to the Mumbai police so that appropriate action can be taken,” he said.

The new noise helplines
  • In addition to 1292, the BMC has announced a new toll-free number – 1800223467 – on which citizens can register noise-related complaints. The number will be functional shortly, the affidavit said
  • A mobile number – 9920760525 – and an email id – mcgm.licnp@gmail.com – have also been issued, on which complaints can be filed.

First Published: Nov 04, 2017 13:39 IST