Dr Abirlal Mukherjee (picture left), who passed away on February 14, was not only a renowned ENT specialist but also a pioneering noise crusader.
He and a few other diehards had first started the campaign against noise pollution that resulted in a series of judicial orders to curb the menace and finally, a national noise rule in 2000.
The noise limit for crackers in Bengal — 90 decibel at 5m from the point of origin — was set by Mukherjee following an order by Calcutta High Court. Cracker manufacturers have repeatedly challenged the limit in the high court and the Supreme Court, with little success.
“Mukherjee was appointed an expert by the high court to assess the impact of noise pollution on people and set the sound limit for crackers. I often used to take technical advice from him on noise matters,” said former high court justice B.P. Banerjee, who had passed a series of rulings since 1996 to curb noise menace.
Biswajit Mukherjee, former chief law officer at the state pollution control board, called the doctor a “pioneering figure” in the fight against noise pollution.
“In the early 1990s, Abirlal Mukherjee had convinced the then state pollution control board chairman, Deb Kumar Bose, to start a campaign against noise pollution,” said Biswajit Mukherjee, who was also the high court-appointed special officer for implementing noise pollution norms.
“Way back in the 1970s, sir (Dr Mukherjee) began a major survey among school students in the city to assess the impact of noise pollution on them and predicted that deafness and other forms of hearing ailments would be on the rise unless the trend was reversed,” said ENT specialist Dulal Bose, also a former sheriff of Calcutta like Mukherjee.