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Mumbai stays quiet to send a loud and clear message

Members of the Dahi Handi Samanvay Samiti, an umbrella body of mandals, said strict instructions were issued to ensure noise rules are not violated

mumbai Updated: Aug 16, 2017 01:00 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Dahi handi,Noise pollution
Man dressed as Lord Krishna does the deity’s signature move, at a Borivli event on Tuesday.(Pramod Thakur/HT)

Unlike previous years, on Tuesday the city celebrated a much quieter Dahi Handi and Independence Day with most of organisers refraining from using loudspeakers, said anti-noise activists.

However, NGO Awaaz Foundation alleged that there was a notable exception at Hill Road, Bandra, where a BJP dahi handi mandal recorded the highest noise levels in the city at 113 decibels (dB). Another Congress mandal used loudspeakers that took noise levels to 95.8 dB.

At Worli naka, drums, trumpets and honking raised the noise to 101.3 dB. In other areas, the highest decibel levels were recorded between 85-88dB, a significant drop from last two years. “This year dahi handi events had the cooperation of organisers, police personnel and citizens which led to a much quieter festival than previous years. No loudspeakers were used,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation. “However, the BJP mandal located opposite Bandra police station, that had banners saying it was organised by BJP city unit chief Ashish Shelar, made a lot of noise.”

She added that noise levels in the evening were as high as 111 dB. “It was noisier than dahi handi celebrations in Mumbai in the past two years,” said Abdulali.

However, Shelar refuted claims made by anti-noise campaigners. “This is wrong information. It was not organised by me and I was not present at the spot,” Shelar told HT.

Anti-noise activists from Thane said noise levels were high owing to the use of loudspeakers and trumpets and the highest was 100dB. “There were fewer events than last year with high police presence across Thane. However, some mandals near Chitnis hospital (Silence Zone), Vartak Nagar and Tembhi Naka, that played loud music were noisy. Noise levels ranged from 85dB to 95dB,” said Dr Mahesh Bedekar, gynecologist and anti-noise campaigner from Thane.

Also, Professional Audio and Lighting Association (PALA) comprising 7,000 members had called for a state-wide ‘mute day’ on Tuesday highlighting problems such as misinterpretation of the law and incorrect implementation of Supreme Court (SC) directions for noise control.

PALA members said they did not give out more than 10,000 speakers on Tuesday. “We took a stand and ensured speakers were not issued to mandals or citizens. The police have taken cognisance of our stand and we hope to come to an amicable resolution,” said Manuel Dias, member, PALA.

Members of the Dahi Handi Samanvay Samiti, an umbrella body of mandals, said strict instructions were issued to ensure noise rules are not violated. “Using DJ sets and loudspeakers is not the way Marathas celebrate this festival. We allowed the use of dhol tashas, trumpets and drums only,” said Kamlesh Bhoir, secretary of the samiti.

Police officials said they had adequate police personnel on duty. “As per SC and HC directives, we ensured noise norms were not violated and we thank mandals for adhering to them,” said Rashmi Karindikar, deputy commissioner of police, spokesperson Mumbai police.

First Published: Aug 16, 2017 01:00 IST