Kolkata, 21 July: The Martyrs’ Day organised by the Trinamul Congress in the city today violated a slew of norms on noise pollution.
While the loudspeakers fitted in silence zones, near hospitals and schools, blared out Nachiketa’s song Ei dushon e te pran bache na, nishash nite chai, cholo hawa bodole te jai…(Can’t live amidst such pollution, want to breathe free, let us welcome wind of change)”, patients in numerous hospitals tossed and turned in their beds praying for the loudspeakers to stop. “People have been screaming into the microphones from morning. I can’t bear it anymore. I just want to run away from this place,” said Ms Namita Saha, who has just given birth to a baby in the maternity ward of Lady Dufferin Victoria Hospital. Loudspeakers have been put up every 6-7 metres away just across the road where the maternity ward is situated.
Loudspeakers were put up from Girish Park metro to Dharmatala irrespective of hospitals such as the Islamia Hospital, Calcutta Medical College and Hospital and School of Tropical Medicine in clear violation of the norms set by the state pollution control board, Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, and Calcutta High Court order. The High Court order stated that microphones should not be allowed to operate for any time in the silence zone, i.e. 100 metres around the premises like hospitals, nursing homes, educational institutions and courts. Moreover, the High Court order had also stated all the loudspeakers should be fitted with Sound Limiter. And in the commercial areas the noise decibel limit should not exceed 65 dB/Leq. The limit had been set as 55 dB/Leq for residential areas.
“My father is mentally unstable. The noise has driven him crazy since morning,” said Ms Lipika Das, a resident of Chittaranjan Avenue. A loudspeaker is fitted just outside her window.
Mr Tapan Das, proprietor of Das Sounds, who was controlling the amplifiers beneath the main dais in Dharmatala, said that he has put up 375 loudspeakers in the areas such as Park Street, Jyoti Cinema, Corporation Building, Bowbazar Thana, Rani Rashmoni and Dharamtala only. He also said that more than 300 might be fitted in other areas. “The High Court has extended the limit to 90 decibels so we have fitted sound limiters with seven amplifiers at 85 decibels.”
However, none of the amplifiers was seen fitted with sound limiters. Mr Subhas Dutta, green activist, said that Calcutta High Court had set the limit at 65 decibels and not 90 decibels.