Ajoy Kumar addresses the party gathering on MGM Medical College and Hospital premises in Sakchi on Sunday morning. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Their intention may have been good, but their action was offensive and in gross violation of pollution guidelines.
Some 300 JVM supporters, led by their chief Babulal Marandi and party MP Ajoy Kumar, turned the premises of MGM Medical College and Hospital into a loudspeaker blaring circus on Sunday on the pretext of inaugurating a shed for relatives and attendants of patients.
Acting on a complaint, police dismantled a tent and seized sound boxes, microphones, tables and chairs but not before the 30-minute show of ‘benevolence’ had inconvenienced 400-odd patients undergoing treatment at the state-run hospital.
“Construction of a shed was a good gesture. It will benefit many like us. But, the organisers (read JVM) did not have to flaunt what they did the way they did. After all, this is a hospital,” said Nisa Khatoon, an attendant at the maternity ward.
“Speeches by politicians were not music to our ears. We are already in pain and the programme aggravated our sufferings,” said Chhotelal Sharma, a patient in the orthopaedic ward.
According to Central Pollution Control Board guidelines, hospitals, educational institutions, courts, residential areas, zoos and national parks are earmarked as “silence zones”, which means loudspeakers cannot be used in their vicinity.
“Here, mikes were being used inside a hospital. We received a complaint from MGM superintendent S.S. Prasad and seized sound equipment for violating noise norms,” Sakchi police station officer-in-charge inspector Bijay Kumar.
He added that a case would be registered against programme organisers for violating pollution guidelines.
Sources said the Jamshedpur MP, during one of his recent visits, had promised this community shed for patients’ kin. The structure was completed two days ago.
Around 11.30am on Sunday, the JVM leaders and supporters trooped to the premises with two sound boxes and as many speakers, besides mikes.
While Marandi was honoured as chief guest, Ajoy Kumar was the guest of honour. Voices of both Marandi and Ajoy Kumar boomed for around 15 minutes and surprisingly in the presence of the superintendent, who woke up to the violation only after the political dignitaries had left.
When confronted, Prasad said he was “persuaded by police” to lodge a complaint against JVM organisers.
“Though no formal permission was taken, I was aware that the MP was setting up a community shed. This, undoubtedly, is a good initiative. It did not strike me while attending the function that using a sound system is prohibited here,” he said.
Ignorant of the total ban on noise on hospital premises, he hastened to add that the loudspeakers were not breaching decibel limits. “The volume was low. The function ended in half an hour.”
Central committee secretary of JVM Abhay Singh, who was also present at the MGM function, dubbed the police action “unwarranted and vindictive”.
“Party workers had inadvertently installed a sound system at the function and we had unknowingly violated rules. Police overreacted. They were too sensitive,” he said, claiming that the action was intended to show Marandi and Ajoy Kumar in poor light.
Should JVM organsiers be penalised for the blunder?