Judge call for noise-norm vigil

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  • Published 20.10.10

Bhagabati Prosad Banerjee, the former high court judge who had delivered a landmark verdict to stop noise pollution, wants regular supervision and monitoring by the judiciary so that sound norms are not violated during the festive season.

“Both the common people and the administration have forgotten that there is an order restricting use of microphones and firecrackers during festivals. The high court should ensure that the order I had passed in 1996 is not violated,” Banerjee said.

He had appointed advocate Gitanath Ganguli as a special officer to monitor whether the sound norms were being maintained properly.

“As long as Gitanath was allowed to perform his duty, the police were active in acting against sound-norm violators. When he was forced to resign from his post, the trouble started again,” said the former judge. The court did not appoint a special officer to maintain noise norms after Ganguli resigned in 2003.

“Some people are under the impression that I still hold the post. During Puja, people from various parts of the city called me up to inform me about noise-norm violations. The norms were grossly violated during the festival,” said Ganguli.

According to a report by the state pollution control board, the administration failed to enforce sound norms during Puja. Many puja committees used loudspeakers above the permissible limit of 100 decibel. Mikes were used late at night, despite a ban on using them after 10pm.

“A large number of people told me that puja organisers had used loudspeakers without sound-limiters, which Justice Banerjee’s order had made mandatory. Most big puja organisers blared mikes at over 150 decibel,” said environment activist Subhash Dutta. He added that he would move the high court once it reopened after puja vacation, seeking the appointment of a special officer to maintain sound norms.

Calcutta police admitted receiving several noise-related complaints during Durga Puja. “We did not confiscate microphones and loudspeakers this time. We only threatened the organisers that we would not allow them to hold pujas from next year.”

A traffic cop who was on duty at Gariahat on Dashami said: “Many banned crackers were burst by those taking idols for immersion. Organisers of some big pujas were involved in the rule-flout.”