Last week, despite protests by Koregaon Park and Mundhwa residents, a mega food carnival was held.
Pune’s residential areas continue to suffer the brunt of uncalled for traffic and noise pollution for various public events that encroach upon their peace and harmony
Food carnivals and public fairs should certainly be an integral part of a city’s life and allow for citizens to let their hair down and enjoy fun-filled activities.
However, in Pune, we find them becoming a public nuisance, thanks to the unbridled development, because of which residential neighbourhoods are almost always close to the limited public places (often private lawns and event halls).
Last weekend, the food carnival organised by a leading online food aggregator, faced stiff opposition from the Koregaon Park and Mundhwa residents.
They approached the relevant civc and law enforcing authorities to cancel permissions given to it, to hold the three day weekend carnival, in a private open-air venue right in the heart of Koregaon Park. They cited traffic congestion and noise pollution that would disrupt the peace of the neighbourhood. And rightly so, as without any such public gathering, the North Main Koregaon Park Road is a daily nightmare during the peak morning and evening hours. During weekends it gets worse, thanks to the string of popular pubs and restaurants that dot the area from ABC Farms upto Mundhwa Road, which attract the young crowd.
However, the authorities revoked permission only for one day, while they gave a go-head for the rest of the two days for the food carnival.
Similarly, residents have been protesting against a popular music Festival, a mega event which was held in a private land part of the Golf Course in Bavdhan in the winter of 2017 and 2018. Residents of various housing societies in Bavdhan as well as the gram panchayat vehemently opposed the festival, which they said would create noise pollution as music vertebrates through residential areas, cause traffic congestions and also because allegedly drugs are used. However, their voices were paled as the festival was held in full swing, both the years. This year, the venue has shifted to Goa.
Besides these big events that occur once in a while, Pune citizens are constantly harassed by noise pollution and disturbance to their peace of mind all through the year.
For example, during the wedding season which begins from December to May, the residents around DP Road area (off Karve Road) have to bear the noise of loud music and traffic snarls, as a series of marriage lawns dot the DP Road. Although, as per the Supreme Court order, noise restriction of public speakers is between 10 pm and 6 am and almost all organisers shut off music at sharp 10 am, the residents are unable to hear their own conversations at home due to loud music played before that.
It’s not surprising that legendary Hindustani Classical music maestro, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, filed a petition in the Bombay High Court against a wedding hall (karyalaya) in his neighbourbood in Navi Peth due to constant noise of music during wedding and other functions. The karyalaya was ordered to play down the noise even during day time.
Other noises include during religious festivities and processions, during renovation work of your neighbour and inconveniences caused due to traffic congestions. For example, in the Salisbury Park neighbourhood, an institution, which holds public gathering round-the-year results in vehicular parking on the adjoining road, causing immense public inconvenience.
A lot of this is a result of the municipal authorities lack of stringent measures for builders to provide adequate parking space to community and commercial buildings.
Hence, it is essential that citizens do not take this injustice lying down. They must protest against this encroachment and assault on their ears, privacy and peace.
They need to know it is their right to raise their voice regarding these issues as, as per the Noise pollution Regulation & Control Rules 2000, `wheareas the increasing ambient noise levels in public places from various sources, inter-alia, industrial activity, construction activity, generator sets, loud speakers, public address terms, music systems, vehicular horns and other mechanical devices have mysterious effects on human health and the psychological well being of the people; it is considered necessary to regulate and control noise producing and venerating sources with the objective of maintaining the ambient air quality standards in respect of noise.
“As per Section 8 of these rules, “
8. Power to prohibit etc. continuance of music sound or noise.-
(1) If the authority is satisfied from the report of an officer in charge of a police station or other information received by him that it is necessary to do so in order to prevent annoyance, disturbance, discomfort or injury risk of annoyance, disturbance, discomfort or injury to the public or any person who dwell or occupy property on the vicinity, he may, by written order issue such directions as he may consider necessary to any person for preventing, prohibiting, controlling or regulating: –
(a) The incidence or continuance in or upon any premise of-
(i) Any vocal or instrumental music,
(ii) Sounds caused by playing, beating, clashing, blowing or use in any manner whatsoever of any instrument including loudspeakers, public address systems, appliance or apparatus or contrivance which is capable of producing or re-producing sound, or
(b) The carrying on in or upon, any premises of any trade, avocation or operation or process resulting in or attended with noise.
(2) The authority empowered under sub-rule (1) may, either oil its own motion, or on the application of any person aggrieved by an order made tinder sub-rule (1), either rescind, modify or alter any such order:
Provided that before any such application is disposed of, the said authority shall afford to the applicant an opportunity of appearing before if either in person or by a person representing him and showing cause against the order and shall, if it reflects any such application either wholly or in part, record its reasons for such rejection.’’
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That's Vinita Deshmukh, Senior journalist and RTI activist who believes in journalism that reflects the views and needs of the common man.
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