HYDERABAD: It may be a sheer coincidence. The ten-day long Ganesh festivities are around the corner, and the Central government has amended earlier this month the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.The amended version has removed the namesake sanctity that was earlier held by courts, hospitals and education institutions till now with regard to noise pollution, as the year-2000 rules had declared 100 metres area from these places as ‘silence zones’.
Now, the amended version passed by Central government this month mentions that an area shall not fall under silence zone category unless it is notified by state government as a silence zone. Environment department of TS needs to act quick to ensure silent zones are notified in Hyderabad and other cities, as some miscreants might use this loophole to play loud music near hospitals, courts or educational institutions.
A Central Pollution Control Board report of 2016 on noise pollution in nine metro cities across India, had reported Hyderabad to be the third most noisiest city in country. How long does it take to identify areas in city to be declared as ‘silent zones’ where honking or making any kind of noise above 50 decibels (dB) will be prohibited?
Apparently, for GHMC, even seven years is not enough for this task. It was way back in 2010, a Government Order was passed by the then Andhra Pradesh government saying that the town planning unit of all municipalities in the state will have to declare silent zones in accordance to the Noise Pollution rules, 2000. The GO also said that signboards in Telugu, Urdu, Hindi and English should be erected at these locations informing that they are silent zones.
Come 2017, and there has been no official notification either by the GHMC or any other municipality in Telangana declaring silent zones. There are no signboards anywhere in Hyderabad declaring any area as a silent zone. While the noise pollution control rules mention 75dB as the maximum permissible noise even in industrial areas, in Hyderabad even at commercial areas like Panjagutta and Abids, the noise levels are regularly above 80dB as per data recorded by Telangana State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB).
When contacted, TSPCB, Member Secretary, Satyanarayana Reddy said, “We are yet to receive the notification on amendment of noise pollution rules from CPCB. Once we receive it, we will forward it to state’s Environment department. Police is the authority having responsibility to enforce noise pollution control rules.”