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Maharashtra transport department to silence noisy bikes through fines, confiscation

Transport officials said removing silencers from the bikes not only makes them noisy but also more polluting

mumbai Updated: Jan 29, 2018 10:16 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,Noise pollution
Anti-noise activists said there have been a large number of complaints regarding noisy bikes from across the city, especially during the night time.(Picture for Representation)

The state transport department will begin a drive from next month against those who remove silencers from their bikes.

Transport officials said removing silencers not only makes bikes noisy but also more polluting. While first-time offenders will be fined, repeated defaulters’ bikes will be confiscated. “The department is currently surveying such modified bikes across Mumbai, Pune, and other major cities in Maharashtra. We will be testing the amount of pollution, both air and noise, being emitted by these vehicles. Our regional transport offices (RTOs) have already issued directions to begin fining defaulters. However, based on the severity of the violations, we will begin confiscating such bikes, which will bring better deterrence,” said Manoj Saunik, principal secretary and transport commissioner (additional charge), state transport department.

After HT reported in December 2016 that Mahim and Bandra residents were irked as these bikes were violating noise rules, the Mumbai police, within a week, booked six garages and warned 35 others against such modifications.

Bikers think that noisier vehicles seem trendier. Thambi Kurien from Mumbai Rickshawmen Union, with over 9,000 members, had raised the issue with the state transport department earlier this month. “When bikers remove silencers, they are the ones who face maximum loss as the life of the bike’s engine is reduced by half, and the mileage decreases significantly,” he said.

According to a detailed study carried out by anti-noise campaigners from NGO Awaaz Foundation, two-wheelers showed average noise levels of up to 90dB while the maximum permissible level is 80dB. When silencers are removed, levels increase to 100dB-110 dB, which is as loud as a discotheque.

Anti-noise activists said there have been a large number of complaints regarding noisy bikes from across the city, especially during the night time. A recent report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) highlighted that night time noise across all metropolitan cities in India, including Mumbai, was much higher in 2017 than previous years. Wadala was ranked the second-noisiest location in India under the study.

“This is a completely unnecessary source of noise. It is a very important that the state takes this from awareness to enforcement, and eliminate this problem. It is a welcome step by the state as it has begun taking proactive action towards reducing both air and noise pollution,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.

Meanwhile, officials from the Mumbai police said they were keeping a tab on garages responsible for modifying such bikes. “We have issued directions to every police station and traffic department to carry out joint raids at such garages, fine them and shut them down. Over the past two months, several garages along the western suburbs have already been shut down. When it comes to defaulters on roads, we have not arrested anyone but violators have been penalised,” said Deepak Deoraj, Mumbai police spokesperson.

First Published: Jan 29, 2018 10:14 IST