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Environment panel blows hot against air horns

Irked by the rampant use of air horns in private and commercial vehicles plying in and around the city and reluctance on the part of the police and transport department to take action, the Environment Appellate Authority (EAA) — the apex decision-making body in environmental issues — has slapped a two-month deadline on the state government to dismantle air horns from all vehicles.

In his judgment, EAA chairman Justice Bhagabati Prasad Banerjee has given a 10-point guideline, directing the transport department and the traffic police to report their progress to the Pollution Control Board (PCB). The EAA delivered the judgment while hearing a petition filed by one Lakshmi Narayan Saha, who alleged that the PCB had failed to check the use of air horns.

“Using air horns is strictly prohibited in law. Yet, a large number of vehicles, fitted with air horns, are creating noise pollution. The motor vehicles department and the police are not doing enough,” Banerjee observed in his judgment.

“The noise generated by air horns is a health hazard. It is unfortunate that despite being aware of the negative effects and having rules prohibiting its use, nobody bothers,” Banerjee said later on Saturday.

According to the EAA directions, anyone found selling, storing and/or using air horns will be prosecuted and a spot fine will be imposed on the offender. The kit will also be confiscated.

The police and the transport department will issue a warning to vehicle operators through the media and the respective associations.

Action will also be taken against those manufacturing, importing or selling air horns. Signboards at bus stands and different entry points to the city and towns will warn against the use of air horns and its penalty.

“If any commercial vehicle is found with an air horn, its permit will be cancelled. The vehicle will also be denied a certificate of fitness,” the order said.

nMan run over: Ashok Bal, a 45-year-old cyclist, was killed when a private bus knocked him down on Girish Avenue on Saturday morning, police said.

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