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Sound limiters at only 20 per cent Durga Puja pandals

Some complaints that WBPCB received were about DJ sets being played at puja pandals

Subhajoy Roy | Published 08.10.22, 08:21 AM
Representational image.

Representational image.

File photo

More than 20 noise-related complaints were filed with the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) between Sashthi and Dashami, and over half of them came from Kolkata, Howrah and Hooghly, an official of board said on Friday.

Only about 20 per cent of puja organisers used sound limiters though all puja committees had signed undertakings promising to use them while obtaining permission for organising their puja.

 Several teams of the WBPCB visited scores of pandals and their feedback revealed that only 20 in 100 pandals had the limiter, the official said.

Some complaints that the WBPCB received were about DJ sets being played at puja pandals. An association of environmental workers and organisations, too, received 25 complaints of DJ sets being used during immersion.

The National Green Tribunal had in an order dated July 26 said that “use of sound limiters in all sound systems/public address systems must be ensured for effective control of noise pollution.” Sound limiters do not allow the sound emitted from the sound boxes to go beyond a set limit. 

The 20 complaints may not reflect the actual violation as many people still refrain from lodging complaints fearing trouble, said Naba Datta, secretary of Sabuj Mancha, an association of environmental workers and groups. 

Datta said that violations during Durga Puja only gave a glimpse of what can happen during Kali Puja and Diwali.

“No one expected that there would be no violations. But the question is what did the WBPCB do against the puja committees when they received complaints?” Datta asked. 

“The WBPCB merely forwards the complaint to police but they have the power to file FIRs and even blacklist a Puja committee.”

A senior WBPCB official said that they did not receive any repeat complaints from any of the complainants, which suggests that the police had reached the places and either stopped the sound or lowered the volume.

“We received 22 complaints— over half from Kolkata, Howrah and Hooghly,” said the official.

Asked if WBPCB would take any action against the pujas that did not use the sound limiters, the official said that they would send text messages to these organisers once again asking them to purchase the limiters. The gap between what the rule says and what is happening on the ground was clear from what the secretary of a prominent Durga Puja in south Kolkata told The Telegraph on Friday. “I think most puja organisers do not even know about sound limiters. Using sound limiters rarely feature in discussions,” he said.

Last updated on 08.10.22, 08:21 AM

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