Ganeshotsav likely to be noise-free this year

Prajakta Joshi
Friday, 11 August 2017

Speaking with the media, Shaha said, “We are calling this strike to protest against the harassment that we face from the police. According to the Supreme Court ruling, we cannot raise the noise higher than 65 decibels. However, we are not given clear directions by the police as to how the decibels will be measured.”

PUNE: While the Pune Sounds and Electrical Generators Association has called an indefinite strike from August 11, refusing to provide sound systems for any event in the city, noise activists and the police have expressed happiness over the possibility of now having a noise-free festive weekend.  With Dahi Handi right round the corner on August 15, Uday Shaha, President of Pune Sounds & Electrical Generators Association said that no Dahi Handi mandal will be provided with sound systems by any operator in the city. 

No clarity on rules 
Speaking with the media, Shaha said, “We are calling this strike to protest against the harassment that we face from the police. According to the Supreme Court ruling, we cannot raise the noise higher than 65 decibels. However, we are not given clear directions by the police as to how the decibels will be measured.”

He added, “As any place has a noise level of its own, we need to raise the decibels so that the crowd can hear us. We want a clarity as to whether the already existing noise levels of a place will be included or not while measuring the decibels of our speakers.”

65 decibels limit
Ravindra Sengaonkar, Additional Commissioner of Police, Pune said, “Keeping the sound under 65 decibels has become law and we are just making sure that everybody abides by the law. In a meeting with the Association, we suggested to them to meet us with two speakers, two bass and amplifiers to fix the volume at which they can play, but they never contacted us.”  JS Salunke, Sub-Regional Officer, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) said he cannot say anything about the strike as it’s a legal matter. “As far as the strike is concerned, we are happy as long as the noise pollution is under control and people aren’t facing problems because of it,” Salunke added.

Noise-free festivals
Adv Aseem Sarode, city-based noise activist said the strike was actually a great thing as it will make people realise that they can celebrate festivals without loudspeakers. He said, “There are two types of noise pollution, one caused by inevitable factors like crowd, vehicles, etc. that cannot be controlled unless we change the behavioural patterns which cannot happen overnight. 

Then there are evitable agents like loudspeakers we can do without. These are the things that could be avoided, or the pollution caused by these could be reduced. Using loudspeakers above the specified decibels because there is already high level of noise which needs to be topped cannot be justified.”

A NOISE-FREE DAHI HANDI?
- Amit Kank of Natu Baug Mandal, Bajirao Road said they had received a letter from the  Pune Sounds & Electrical Generators Association about not providing the sound systems for Dahi Handi. 
- “As the strike on August 15 would be statewide, we can’t make any alternative arrangement. So if they do not give us the loudspeakers, we will celebrate without any noise. While this wouldn’t really cause us loss, the excitement of the festival would drop as many people who come to see Dahi Handi because they love to dance on the streets, wouldn’t come this time,” Kank said.

NO SOUND SYS  FOR PMC
There will be a state-wide strike by sound and light generator operators on August 15.  The sound systems will not be provided for the PMC’s event on August 12, which Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will be attending.

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