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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

Bombay HC tells Maharashtra to decide on penal action against noise rules violators at Metro sites

The court demanded clarity regarding any possible breach of Noise Pollution Rules at the three metro construction sites in south Mumbai.

mumbai Updated: Apr 26, 2018 11:35 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Noise levels near construction sites of the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro-3 line hit 110 decibel (dB) - as loud as a live rock concert or the recurring sound of a car horn
Noise levels near construction sites of the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro-3 line hit 110 decibel (dB) - as loud as a live rock concert or the recurring sound of a car horn(HT Photo)
         

The Mumbai high court on Wednesday directed the state government to clarify on affidavit, if it wants to take penal action in regards to exceeding noise limits at three metro railway construction sites in the city. 

“Take a stand whether there is breach of the Noise Pollution Rules, 2000, and whether any penal action is required,” the bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Riyaz Chagla directed assistant government pleader Manish Pabale. 

The directive came after the government lawyer expressed inability to register offences against persons concerned, although decibel levels recorded at the three sites – Cuffe Parade, Churchgate and Mahim - were significantly beyond the limit stipulated by the Noise Pollution Rules, 2000. 

According to Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz Foundation, the highest noise level - 103dB was recorded near Churchgate station in presence of police personnel. At the proposed Shitla Devi temple station at Mahim, the decibel level was 96.2dB, whereas at Cuffe Parade it was 92dB. 

Pabale disputed the figures saying the ambient noise level itself is very high at these sites and therefore the police officers concerned were unable to register offences against the metro officials for crossing the approved decibel level. He added that the state government follows a standard operating procedure (SOP) for measuring noise level and according to it, decibel level is required to be measured for over five minutes and an average of the readings is taken as the final noise level. 

The bench, however, demanded clarity regarding any possible breach of Noise Pollution Rules at the three metro construction sites, and wanted to know whether the state planned to take action against the persons concerned. Following a plea in the PILs by the Awaaz Foundation, the bench had directed police to measure noise levels at metro work sites in Mahim, Churchgate and Cuffe Parade. 

The court was hearing public interest litigations concerning noise pollution, especially noise created during public celebration of religious festivals, and lack of action against the wrongdoers. 

During the course of the hearing, advocate Sadhana Mahashabde, who represented the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, told the court that the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) was likely to submit its noise mapping report of 27 municipal corporation and municipal council areas by May end.

First Published: Apr 26, 2018 00:32 IST