Calcutta blasts away noise norms on Diwali
Parts of Calcutta erupted like previous years on Diwali night with noisy crackers that kept going off till early on Monday.
The state pollution control board recorded 140 complaints and green platform Sabuj Mancha 114 Bangur in the north and Behala in the south appeared to be the worst hit. Overall two-thirds of the complaints came from south Calcutta.
More than half the complaints were lodged after 10pm. The Supreme Court had fixed 8pm to 10pm the time to burst firecrackers.
Metro accompanied the green activists’ team and the PCB team from 8pm to 2am and experienced first-hand the noise mayhem.
Complaints, mainly regarding loudspeakers, started trickling in but it seemed crackers were on a leash.
The Sabuj Mancha control room received complaints of crackers going off in Bangur and Lake Town.
At both places, hardly any cops could be seen and blasts could be heard from almost all high-rises. “The ambient noise was in the 80-85dB range. The limit for residential areas at night is 40 decibels,” Dulal Bose, ENT specialist and former city sheriff and a member of the Sabuj Mancha team, said.
A complaint was lodged with police and the PCB. “After receiving many complaints, a PCB team, along with a police contingent, raided the places. We lodged an FIR against the Avani Oxford housing complex and another building,” a PCB official said.
Around the same time, another PCB team lodged an FIR against the Greenfield City housing complex with Maheshtala police station for rampant bursting of crackers.
The PCB lodged 12 FIRs.
“We can hear noise from all around... we have told the police but it’s still continuing,” the principal of RG Kar Medical College and Hospital told the Sabuj Mancha team members when they landed up at the hospital for a noise scan.
The noise level was often more than 80 decibels.
The next destination was Dr BC Roy Hospital for Children in Narkeldanga, which had seen noise violations in previous years.
The Sabuj Mancha team was denied entry by the policemen till the PCB intervened. “We could see and hear crackers bursting all around but policemen on duty did not allow us to enter,” Naba Dutta of the Mancha said. “When we finally did enter, we found chocolate bomb shells lying scattered towards the rear of the hospital.”
The noise meter showed around 70 to 75 decibels.
The situation was worse at Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratishthan on Sarat Bose Road.
The area was rocked by high-intensity crackers. “It’s unbearable; both the noise and the air pollution,” a doctor on duty said.
Complaints were filed at Lalbazar and a team from Tollygunge police station reached the spot. “Cops know everything, it happens every year,” a hospital official said.
Behala appeared to be shrouded in a cloud of smoke as crackers kept going off. The ambient noise level was around 75 decibels.
Garfa was quieter than previous years but crackers were burst at several multi-storey buildings on Ballygunge Circular Road till about 2am.