West Bengal: Anti-Sound Pollution Measures Made Mandatory For Durga Puja Celebrations

New Delhi: Durga Puja is around the corner and before the pandals are set up the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) has made it mandatory for all Durga Puja committees in the state to give written undertakings to the administration about adopting anti-sound pollution measures during the festival. To confirm this, police stations have been asked to cross-check with the electricians contracted by the committees concerned whether loudspeakers and sound boxes are fitted with sound limiters, before they are installed near the puja pandals, WBPCB Member Secretary Rajesh Kumar told PTI on Wednesday.

“We have asked all police stations to see to it that the organisers conform to these guidelines. While a clause to this effect has been inserted in their letter of application, failing to adhere to the norm will make them ineligible to get permission,” Kumar was quoted by PTI.

According to Telegraph India, a green activist was reported as saying that while there is a standing norm for using sound limiters it is hardly followed during the puja days. However, when the police take action, they ask them only to reduce the volume.

The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 permits action against anybody found violating the norms. 

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WBPCB Chairman Kalyan Rudra said the board is doing everything possible to stop the playing of loud music during immersions and puja days by the organisers. Rudra said that loud music has a lot of hazardous effects on people, especially the elderly and children. 

“We are all worried about the hazard of loud, ear-splitting music which causes great difficulty to the ailing, elderly and children apart from others in a neighbourhood. The guideline will deal with the issue of fitting sound limiter to the sound boxes,” Rudra said.

He further told PTI, that teams consisting of WBPCB staff, police personnel and administrative officials will also patrol each block during the puja days to check the decibel levels.