No substance to 82% of noise complaints, say police in Maharashtra
The police found that more than 80% of complaints about noise pollution lodged across Maharashtra since March 15, 2017 had “no substance”, the Bombay high court was told on Wednesday.
Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anil Menon, however, refused to believe the data was correct. “We refuse to accept that about 90% of the complaints were false,” the court said.
According to data submitted by senior advocate Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, special counsel for the state government, the police received 2,433 complaints about noise pollution since March 15, but 2,006 (82%) of these had no substance.
He claimed in 2,388 cases, police visited the spot immediately after receiving the complaint; that they recorded decibel levels in 683 cases; and took action (stopped the noise) in 350 cases – 14% of the total. He added that 185 criminal cases were registered against noise polluters under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
Kumbhakoni responded by saying that in most cases, offenders stopped the noise the moment they saw police vehicles. “Action of stopping and registering offences is being taken in cases where the nuisance creators are adamant and refuse to stop the noise immediately on being asked to do so by the police,” he added.
Kumbhakoni was responding to a public interest litigation filed by Dr Mahesh Bedekar, an activist from Thane, who complained about the flouting of noise pollution rules during festivals such as Ganeshotsav, Navratri and Dahi Handi, and the authorities’ reluctance to act on complaints.
He also told the court that the Mumbai and Thane police have started using social media not just to spread awareness about noise pollution but also to tackle specific complaints. He said the Mumbai police have 23 lakh followers on Twitter, while the Thane police, which joined the social networking site more recently, have 14,100 followers.
He said that a bill to amend the Maharashtra Motor Vehicle Rules had been prepared and that is sought to introduce penalties for unnecessary honking in silence zones and the use of loud or multi-toned horns.