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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Horn? NOT Ok Please! by Sonam Singhal, republished from The Hindu





In Maharashtra, adding to noise pollution on the road will soon cost you ₹2000




On Thursday, the Bombay High Court was hearing a bunch of petitions related to the effective implementation of the Noise Pollution Rules, 2000. The Bench asked the government what it had been doing on this front.
In response, Advocate General A.A. Kumbhakoni submitted an affidavit filed by the Deputy Secretary of the state’s Home department, saying that on April 6 this year, Maharashtra’s Legislative Assembly had enacted the Maharashtra Transport and Roads Safety Act, 2017, which, among other issues, tackled the noise pollution problem.
No needless use
Section 20 of the Act says that a driver shall not use the horn needlessly or continuously or more than necessary to ensure safety, or use the horn in silence zones. It also disallows the use any multitone horn ‘giving a harsh, shrill, loud or alarming noise.’ The Act goes beyond horns: it also bans vehicle creating undue noise when in motion, the use of mufflers causing ‘alarming’ noise, and the use of cut-outs by which exhaust gases are released other than through the silencer, (The Act does not specify, thus far, how terms like hard, shrill, undue or alarming would be defined, or what volume of sound would be considered loud.)
Contravening any of these provisions, says Section 23, will attract a 2000 penalty.
The state’s Regional Transport Office has already issued directions not to register a vehicle with silencers that make noise beyond permissible limits or with multi-toned horns.
Monitoring stations
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has installed real-time continuous noise monitoring stations at 10 locations in Mumbai and the data is displayed at five locations and on MPCB’s and Central Pollution Control Board’s web sites. The MPCB will be noise-mapping 27 cities in Maharashtra, in coordination with their municipal corporations.
The Act also provides for the creation of a separate fund for road safety, which can be used for initiatives like raising public awareness about noise pollution. Under the Act, awareness will be created with, among other things, a drive in municipal schools, which will supplement efforts by the Education Department to make students aware of the ill effects of noise pollution.
The Act is not law yet; it has been forwarded for the President’s assent, which is awaited.


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