BENGALURU: Cone-shaped loud speakers are banned by Supreme Court, but residents across the city complain that their use has been rampant over the past few days, thanks to the festival season.
In July 2005, the Supreme Court banned the use of cone speakers after it was found that they produce very high decibels of sound compared to the box-shaped sound systems.
Many residents complain that the Pollution Control Board is not taking action against the violators. “I have not slept properly for the past few days because of the unbearable noise from the cone-shaped loud speakers from a temple. It has become a nuisance, especially when they play loud songs during late night and also early morning,” said S Shashwathi, a resident of Shanthi Nagar. She said elderly people, children and pets are also suffering because of the noise pollution.
“There is hardly anyone to check the noise level of these speakers. Many small temples are playing music from speakers which have high decibel level throughout the day even though puja is only during morning and evening. It’s causing irritation rather than a pleasant feeling,” she said.
In Mumbai, complaints about noise pollution are taken very seriously by the police who have a dedicate phone number for affected residents to register such complaints.
Activists say neither Karnataka State Pollution Control Board nor police take action against violators. This is mainly because a majority of violators are religious institutions and officials are reluctant to take action against them because of the pressure from local politicians. Many local politicians fear that taking action against religious institutions will affect their vote banks during election.
Kavitha Reddy, an activist and a resident of HSR Layout, said religious institutions, particularly temples owned by private individuals, are causing more noise pollution. “We are not against festivals or any particular religion, but playing music in the name of religion should not trouble other citizens. The government should take action against people who use illegal cone-shaped loud speakers,” she said.
The Madras High Court recently said that religions are ancient and prayers were held even before electricity and cone speakers. “It appears that these institutions (places of worship) perceive that the blessings of God cannot be obtained unless there is a loud noise”, the court said.