Honk too loud for comfort

NOISE MENACE: A bus fitted with a pressure horn in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar: Rampant use of pressure horns in the city has become a menace for commuters and residents. But police and transport officials continue to ignore the problem despite it becoming a constant headache for others.

While youths riding motorcycles used to have a fancy for these horns, also called power horns, a number of passenger buses have also started to use these, creating a shrill noise.

According to the Odisha Urban Police Act, no vehicle should be fitted with pressure or multi-toned horns or any other device that produces shrill, loud and alarming noise. The police said the sound limit of horns should be less than 65dB and the maximum penalty for such offences is Rs 500. The act also says every vehicle has be fitted with an electric horn capable of sending the minimum alert about approaching vehicles.

"Noise pollution is rampant at Acharya Vihar, Vani Vihar and Rasulgarh bus stops where passenger buses continuously use such horns. Sometimes, these create so much noise that children get frightened," said Arindam Jena, a resident of Rasulgarh.

Besides, a number of these vehicles also create noise pollution in silence zones. The police have declared a 100m radius around hospitals, health clinics and educational institutes as no-horn zones. But violations continue to be rampant here as well.

Commuters alleged that buses of the Bhubaneswar Puri Transport Service Limited are no different. "It is surprising that the city bus service, which is managed by the state government, is also flouting the norms. Though we have complained about it to the police, they are yet to take any action," alleged Hemant Mohapatra, another resident.

ENT specialist Rajesh Padhi said frequent exposure to shrill noises could cause several types of behavioural changes. "High level of noise can lead to noise-induced hearing loss. Several people also complain of irritation and high stress levels," said Padhi.

Deputy commissioner of police Anup Kumar Sahoo said the police had been conducting drives against such horns. "We will intensify the drive and ask police stations to penalise private vehicles that use these pressure horns."


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