BENGALURU: Nearly a year has passed since the High Court passed an order asking BBMP to ensure that a pub near Vinoo Thimayya’s home, on 100 feet Road, causes no noise pollution. “But the music still blares through the nights and I am frustrated,” he says. “I have stopped taking evening strolls through my lawn, for fear of being lobbed at with beer cans and bottles, and my 90-year-old mother finds it hard to sleep.”
In April this year, following the court order, the ACP of Halasuru sub-division Mohammad Sajjad Khan informed residents that one of the pubs and its neighbouring watering holes have been asked “to avoid the outcoming volume of music”. City Express visited the premises after a year of the court order and found that sound-proofing has been done only in a portion of this pub. The joint’s owner says, “I have spent `7.5 lakhs to soundproof this, but we can’t ensure that is so 100 per cent.”Music from the adjacent pub, on third floor of the same building, could be heard loud and clear on the ground floor, when we visited the building. But a spokesperson for this establishment says, “We are doing our best to keep decibel levels within the norms.”
The writ petition against one of these pubs had been filed by the resident welfare association president Raj Kumar Pillai who now says that he won’t speak about this anymore. “I already informed all the officials involved, but nothing is being done… what is the point of telling anything to anyone,” he says.
Residents who live in neighbourhoods that are being rapidly commercialised, such as Indiranagar and Koramangala, say that noisy pubs are the hardest to live with. They have tried filing RTIs and cases in courts, and even hounded officials but the music continues to play.
The KSPCB Chairman Lakshman says, “We have received complaints and I asked our regional officers to take action by checking on establishments that are said to be loud. If they are flouting the norms, we will issue notices. We have issued three to four notices across the city”. But, an Indiranagar resident on condition of anonymity, says that this is a small number considering that there are 33 cases against pubs filed in the Civil Court from their neighbourhood alone.
Learning to live with this
76-year-old Palniappan, who lives in 4th block 5th cross of Koramangala, says that he has changed his lifestyle to suit his loud neighbours. He closes his doors and windows, and avoids going out of home in the evenings. The noise begins to rise after 8’0 clock.
People who try to fight are stonewalled by officials. Aruna Newton, an Indiranagar resident, lives 200 metres away from a pub. She has filed hundreds of RTIs over the last five years, and haunted the BBMP’s corridors to know how her residential locality has pubs. “The answer is almost always nange gotilla,” she says, adding, “One department does not seem to know what the other is doing.” Through her RTI queries, she found that most of the neighbouring commercial establishments are functioning from residential buildings. “BBMP is collecting commercial taxes from these establishments, but how is that possible without converting land use,” she asks, baffled.
Vehicles that head to the pub near Vishwanath Kashyap’s house screech through the roads and honk rudely, whatever the time of day. This resident of Kormangala and head of RWA says, “We have given up the fight, these eateries are getting louder and no one is doing anything.” He used to meet the police and BBMP officials to register their protest, but not anymore. Vishwanath says, “Sometimes I get nightmares from all the music.”
Swarna Venkataraman, who lives in Indiranagar, does not have her relatives stay over or invite guests home for dinner. She lives few metres away from a pub. “ Everyone is aware of this, but the authorities refuse to act,” she says. “I have nothing against business but not at the cost of our peace of mind”
In Koramangala, Nithin says that children are unable to study from all the ruckus. “We are planning to movie court,” he says.
Diners rarely bother
Violations rarely cost these eateries their business. Customers largely remain unconcerned. “I don’t care about all that,” says Arun, adding that he is just here to have a good time. He was at a pub in Indiranagar. Sangeeth says that he is not aware of the rules and that it would be “nice” if the pub did adhere by them. But violating them, won’t cost it his custom.