KOCHI: Twenty days after declaring the stretch between Seemati and Maharaja’s College as ‘Horn Free Zone’, the area continues to reverberate with heavy honking.Despite four signboards, two each near the MG Road Metro Station and the Centre Square Mall, vehicles continue to honk their way through the traffic.“Compared to cities like Mumbai, the noise pollution here is minimal. However, the traffic on these roads makes it really difficult to not use a horn,” said Pinky Vishal, a local coffee shop owner and a native of Mumbai.
While most pedestrians blame autorickshaw drivers for the excessive honking, the auto drivers cite strong reasons for the situation.“First of all, buses stop anywhere they see a passenger. The U-turn areas are very congested for even an autorickshaw. Amidst all these, how can you expect us not to honk?” said Suresh, a local auto driver. “If you visit Panampilly Nagar, you will find youngsters travelling at high speeds on bikes with aftermarket exhausts that make a lot of noise. This is a much bigger cause for noise pollution than honking,” he said.
The common opinion among people is that MG Road is not the right place to implement such a scheme. “This kind of an initiative would have been more successful if it was implemented on the Seaport-Airport Road, which has much lesser traffic,” said Jithin Das, a student at Kalamassery.
“Legally, action cannot be taken yet for honking in this area. It is an awareness initiative that must be undertaken by the public to make it successful,” said Nazeer M A, ACP Traffic (West) Station, Kochi, when asked about the penalties for violations along the Horn Free Zone.
While launching the initiative, officers had pointed out that Kochi was a city where people are exposed to high noise pollution from 6 am to 11 pm. Constructive initiatives like 'Horn Free Zone' were expected to be well-received by the general public. However, early indications are that the commuters are yet to come to terms with the concept.