Maharashtra government tells local bodies to notify silence zones in four days
In Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had notified 1,537 silence zones.mumbai Updated: Nov 21, 2017 00:19 IST
The Maharashtra government has asked its local bodies across the state to notify silence zones within the next four days.
The existing silence zones stood null and void after the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) amended the existing noise rules as Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Amendment Rules, 2017 on August 10 this year. As per the amended rules, the silence zones need to be notified by the state government.
In Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had notified 1,537 silence zones. The move comes after the state government in July requested the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to abolish silence zones completely.
Silence zones are defined as areas with a 100-m radius around hospitals, courts, educational or religious institutions, where noise standards are laid down under the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 under the Environment Protection Act (EPA), 1986. According to the rules, noise levels at these zones should not exceed 45 decibels (dB) and 40dB during the day and night, respectively.
In a government resolution (GR) issued on Monday, the state environment department said the urban local bodies will have to notify the silence zones with prior approval from state urban development department and for rural areas, the state rural development department should give the approval while notifying silence zones.
A senior official from state environment department said they are following the noise pollution rules, according to which silence zones have to be notified by the state government. “After this GR, silence zones have to be notified afresh by November 25,” he said requesting anonymity.
The environment department order further said the local bodies will also have to classify the areas under their jurisdiction in to four categories — industrial area, commercial area, residential area and silence zone -- to maintain noise levels determined under the noise pollution rules.
Anti-noise crusader Sumaira Abdulali from NGO Awaaz Foundation said the government is actually de-notifying many by notifying specific ones and that too without considering peoples’ say. “The government can notify whatever they feel like in four days, but I think we as an NGO are going to insist that they should also take in to account people’s input for the same. You cannot take away a silence zones without giving me a chance to represent it,” Abdulali told HT.