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High Court asks Maharashtra government when will it name panel on noise pollution

The Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra government when will it name a committee to monitor noise pollution norms and issue a directive to police prohibiting rallies and pandals in silence zones. A division bench of justices A S Oka and Anuja Prabhudessai was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations on the issue of breach and violation of noise pollution norms and rules due to setting up of pandals, at rallies and so on.

Government counsel Ashutosh Kumbakoni informed the court that it would set up a monitoring committee and also issue a circular to all police stations asking them not to issue permissions in silence zones. “When will you (government) issue government resolutions on these two issues? The monitoring committee should also include some officers of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) as they are the authorised officers to initiate action against the violators,” Justice Oka said.

The court noted that as of now people have to call the police control room to lodge complaints. “100 (number) is used to receive all kinds of complaints. Instead of this some other mechanism can be set up where people can lodge complaints,” the judges said. To this, Kumbakoni said the government will look into it and see if another number can be set up.

On the issue of not granting permission for rallies, public speeches and setting up of pandals in silence zones, the bench said, “The application form should include a declaration that the area does not fall under silence zone.” The court also sought to know if the government has collected data as to in how many cases decibel meters have been used by the police to measure noise, in how many cases violations have been found and in how many cases action has been initiated. The court will hear the petitions further on March 7.

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