The Bombay High Court permitted the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) to carry out construction and other ancillary work for the Metro III project at Cuffe Parade in south Mumbai during night.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice N H Patil and Justice G S Kulkarni, however, asked the MMRCL and the contractor Larsen and Toubro to implement recommendations made by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) on minimising noise pollution.
The court was hearing an application filed by the MMRCL, seeking modification of an earlier order of the HC, which prohibited them from carrying out Metro work at Cuffe Parade during night time.
The MMRCL had said in its application that it had to carry out important work of tunnel boring, which will have to be done continuously.
“The soil and muck that will be dug out can be transported only during the night time so that there is no impact on vehicular traffic,” MMRCL’s counsel Ashutosh Kumbhakoni had argued.
In its order, the HC said the MMRCL can carry out work from 10 pm to 6 am.
“The MMRCL and the contractor shall duly implement the recommendations submitted by NEERI in its report. Apart from this, the MMRCL shall also immediately set up a grievance redressal mechanism to allow people to complain if there is any violation of noise pollution rules,” the court said.
The high court had in December last restricted the MMRCL from carrying out any construction work at night as it was creating noise pollution and causing hassle to people residing in the area.
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) had last month appointed NEERI to carry out noise monitoring at the sites, where the Metro construction work is on.
As per the study report, noise monitoring study carried out at the Metro construction sites revealed that the noise levels were exceeding the prescribed standard of noise levels for day and night time.
“Ambient noise levels at the Metro construction sites for day time ranged from 68.5 to 91.9 decibels and during night time it was in the range of 60.3 to 83.4 decibels,” the report had said.
The report said while this construction noise may not pose a serious health risk to the people, it could affect their quality of life.
“Construction noise can be a contributing factor to the degradation of a person’s health…it can cause them to be irritated and stressed and can interrupt their ability to sleep.
“All of this may lead to a higher blood pressure, anxiety and feelings of animosity towards people and agencies responsible for the noise,” it had said.
The report recommended erection of noise barriers of sufficient height at the construction sites to contain and reduce the impact of noise and ensure that machine activities that generate a lot of noise should be used during day time only.
The 33-km long Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro line III project is a part of the Metro system which will connect the Cuffe Parade business district in South Mumbai to SEEPZ in the city’s North-Central suburb.