The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Friday rap spurs police to Diwali decibel drive

A moderately noisy Kali puja led to a quiet Diwali on Saturday night. Wiser after complaints from residents and a harsh rap from a high court representative, the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (PCB) and the city police launched a bigger crackdown on offenders on Saturday.

Deputy commissioner of police, central, Rajiv Kumar said every police station under the central division had reported arrests. “The figure should be anywhere between 20 and 30. More arrests are likely,” Kumar added.

The PCB received around 20 complaints from across the city, including Behala, Dhakuria, Salt Lake, Kalindi off Dum Dum and Naihati, in North 24-Parganas. Immediately after receiving the complaints, the police control rooms were informed. “In some cases involving repeated offenders, we informed the local police station directly,” a PCB official said.

Saturday’s vigil was the fallout of Friday’s fireworks. Promises by the authorities to put a curb on noise pollution on Kali puja notwithstanding, crackers, far beyond permissible limits, were burst across the city on Friday night. Residents of Salt Lake, Lake Town, Jadavpur, Behala and Burrabazar areas were the worst sufferers.

The issue took a serious turn with Geetanath Ganguly, the high court- appointed special officer to control noise pollution, blaming the police and West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) for failing to carry out the Supreme Court order on sound pollution.

“I feel that the police are unaware of the power vested in them by the apex court. In many areas, they did not take any action even after specific complaints,” Ganguly said on Saturday afternoon. “On Diwali night, the situation is likely to get worse,” he had warned.

Police, however, denied any violation of norms in Burrabazar. The Noise Pollution Control Rule, 2000, has empowered even grassroots-level police officials (sub-inspectors and constables) to file cases against offenders.

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