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Old 14th April 2017, 17:28   #1
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Default A long battle against noise pollution - High Court, RTI, Police & more

I decided to pen a two-year saga so that others who might be facing similar issue related to noise pollution and traffic blocking can resolve the issue in a much shorter time span.

The Situation -

I live in fairly quiet locality in Bombay - it is trees, gymkhanas and in general is a quiet area. Unfortunately, just about a decade ago my lane changed significantly. The rest of the area is still fairly quiet but there was a revamped and renovated marriage hall two buildings away. Bang opposite my building spruced up a small hall utilized for plays and gatherings. In vicinity are some restaurants which are very popular especially on the weekends. All of this created a perfect storm for road blockings, double parking, marriage processions blaring music and unruly patrons of the wedding hall coming and parking inside my building if they couldn't find a spot - often blocking ALL my cars. And these people have been from all walks of life - from a politician to a professor.

The Initial Saga -

I would call up the cops and at times get their car towed. On one occasion, I called up the Traffic Control Room which said that since there are no cars available to come help me, I should proceed and flatten all 4 tyres of the vehicle parked illegally. I did as told - as it turns out, that was the time when the Innova illegally parked happened to be the car of an MLA from a nearby constituency. He threatened and got a couple underlings to abuse me; I immediately called the cops and some beat marshalls came. They refused to believe that the Traffic Control Room had asked me to flatten all 4 tyres. Luckily, I had recorded that call and played it out. The MLA called up the Traffic Control Room and fired them but left in a huff. I realized that this was not a solution!

I then approached the trustees of the marriage hall. They did not give me time of day the first time around. I went back a few days later and one trustee reluctantly met me and basically told me to get lost - he said they are running a religious charity and apparently the whole "Jain samaj" is with them and that I could do what I wanted.

It wasn't just the noise. The processions would block the entire road - thereby even blocking access to emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire engines. So with the incessant blaring music and road blocking, it also became a honking fest.

I went and met the Senior Inspector of the local Police Station who was polite but did not do anything.

From the Mumbai Police website, I then found the number of the ACP of the Police Station and via Whatsapp sent her multiple pics of the violations taking place. Once again, nothing happened.

The Turnaround -

I finally wrote a letter and acquired the signatures of about 30 local residents. I pointed out that it was not just illegal parking, illegal honking but also hawking without license as the Marriage hall would serve refreshments to the dancing patrons on the road. I sent a copy of the letter with the signatures to the following -

1. The Bombay High Court
2. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board
3. The local MLA
4. The Mumbai Fire Brigade
5. The Police Commissioner's Office
6. Ajoy Mehta - The BMC Commissioner

In the meanwhile I kept sending new pics via Whatsapp to the ACP reminding her of the constant violations. Not once did she reply although the blue tick indicated that she was seeing all the messages.

Finally after a couple months, I received a reply from the Bombay High Court which cced me while directing the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to take action.

I followed up with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board which finally sent me a reply - it has once again cced me - while directing the Mumbai Police to take action under the Noise Pollution Control Act. It also directed the Mumbai Police to keep in the loop of the action taken.

I went and met the Senior Police Inspector again who said they would sort this out. Much to my chagrin nothing happened.

Finally, I filed an RTI attaching a copy of the letter written by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to the Mumbai Police asking them to outline the steps they had taken in this regard.

Finally, after another month I get a call from the Police Station to come and collect the reply. The department dealing with RTIs is completely different. They were polite and they readily handed over the reply. It was in Marathi - not my strong suit.

I could still make the gist out and got it translated as well, just to make sure. The reply included a letter to the Marriage Hall to stop its activities or stringent action would be taken against them as per law - a copy of which was forwarded to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board. The RTI reply stated that this letter had been sent to the Marriage Hall 3 months ago!

On cue, on the weekend was another grand procession. Once again traffic was blocked and there was incessant honking. I recorded everything and went back to the Police Station. This time I carried with me copies of the RTI reply.

I also tweeted to the Mumbai Police twitter handle that I going to register an FIR and I would appreciate it if it was done.

Once again I sat in front of an Inspector. I showed him the videos, the photos and the RTI reply. As he was going through them, another Inspector came in who said he had just received a call from the Commissioner's Office that a complainant named "me" would be coming in and that my issue should be addressed.

The Inspector said he would book the trustees. He said that this time he could not book them for noise pollution as that requires Police using its decibel meter to record the noise levels. I told him I had an app on my cell phone and had recorded the Noise - it was well over 80DB. He said it needed to be on a Police decibel meter but he would still book them for public nuisance, hawking and littering. This would make them come to court anyways. I agreed under the circumstances. He asked me to Whatsapp him the pics and video right away and asked if he could keep a copy of the RTI reply. I agreed.

As I was leaving the Police Station, I got a call from the Commissioner's Office asking if I was satisfied with the Inspector or if further action is needed. I wanted to laugh - I had been on their case for close to two years and the hadn't bothered to do a thing and now all of a sudden they were concerned with citizen satisfaction.


They also told me that according to the new system in place, I could visit the Police Station on Saturday morning if my complaint wasn't resolved. I called up the Inspector and told him that I would come on Saturday morning to get a report. He said - "No need Sir, I will whatsapp you all the details."

On cue, that very evening he booked the trustees of the Marriage Hall under two sections. He sent me all the details.

Since then, there has neither been a procession nor has the road been blocked.

It took the better part of two years but finally I got them to stop.

I have most of the documents with me - if someone is facing similar issues, I shall be happy to share the documents with you via e-mail or on the cloud.

Moral - In India, you need infinite patience to deal with the system but if you keep at it they will finally do what is right.

Last edited by Rehaan : 18th April 2017 at 13:57. Reason: Just added a bit of bold formatting :)
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Old 15th April 2017, 10:03   #2
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Default Re: A long battle against noise pollution - High Court, RTI, Police & more

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 15th April 2017, 10:47   #3
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Default Re: A long battle against noise pollution - High Court, RTI, Police & more

Wow !

Hats off to you Sir for showing the whiners [ I'm one of them ] the true way in an Archaic Democracy.

Being a Government Officer, I am very well acquainted with the administration delinquency which generally shuns or seeks to redirect the issues to other wings of the Government.

Tons of Patience and Perseverance

This is how the Government machinery has to be dealt with to resolve any issue.

I hope we'd take the inspiration from citizens like you who understand and execute the adage- Eternal Vigilance is the price of a Working Democracy.
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Old 15th April 2017, 11:04   #4
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Default Re: A long battle against noise pollution - High Court, RTI, Police & more

These issues are specific to Indian societies wherein the processions, celebrations and allied things go beyond tolerance of others.

I remember my days when I moved to Germany and for the first time saw pressure cooker without whistle (it had rings to show pressure) which makes no noise the way our cookers make while cooking.

Similarly in Japan, I am told that people do not use mobile phone in public transport' if it all they have to use it, they will first seek permission from you, take the call, keep it minimal say below 30 seconds, hang up and apologies again.

We on the other hand take pleasure in breaking law and to top it become deaf to the concerns or sensitivities of others.

Quite disappointing !

Last edited by i74js : 15th April 2017 at 11:06.
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Old 15th April 2017, 11:24   #5
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Kudos to you sir ! This is a very good moral booster! I'm bang in middle of 2 Ganpati Mandals and so far my complaints have fallen on deaf ears. But the police do help, but that's only after the 10pm deadline. From 5:30pm-10pm I have to live with the loud disco songs- no way related to Ganapati fest.

I will now take inspiration from you and take up the fight .
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Old 15th April 2017, 11:48   #6
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Default Re: A long battle against noise pollution - High Court, RTI, Police & more

Incredible. Well Done.

Just shared it on facebook, this definitely deserves to get popular.
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Old 15th April 2017, 12:10   #7
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Default Re: A long battle against noise pollution - High Court, RTI, Police & more

Wow! What an unexpected and pleasantly surprising conclusion. Kudos to you Sir for not giving up and proving that all is not lost and there is still hope. All you need is patience and persistence. On couple of occasions, I have been to police stations to lodge a complaint, it had been so frustrating that I decided to never ever visit them again. Your story is truly inspiring.
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Old 15th April 2017, 12:28   #8
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Default Re: A long battle against noise pollution - High Court, RTI, Police & more

India needs more headstrong people like you man!

The story evokes very strong and opposing emotions at the same time. For lack of better words, its like Skoda dealer doing a simple job apart from regular service in a fortnight and you are pleasantly surprised he did it all right; for what a Maruti service station would take a couple of hours!
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Old 15th April 2017, 13:17   #9
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Default Re: A long battle against noise pollution - High Court, RTI, Police & more

Hats off to you sir for your perseverance. In the end, it paid. Noise pollution is not an issue only endemic to India but it is present elsewhere in all of South Asia as well. In Nepal where I am from, the community is more or less like that of India. Come wedding season, they blast their trumpets right on the road, block the traffic and make it come to a complete halt. The ones in the procession dancing to the tunes of ‘orchestra’, as they call it, may feel that that they are putting up a show. Do they assume those behind the wheel waiting for the road to clear up enjoy their show? They are mistaken if they assume so. The only people enjoying their show, in my observation, are the traffic police.

Similarly during festivals, which are perennial in this part of world, they fix several loudspeakers mounted on a pole facing all the directions. Usually, there are four for four directions. At times, there are more for northeast, southeast, southwest and northwest too. And they play it all night long. In the non-electrified villages, they will never invest in generators to light up the streets but they, willingly, put in a lot of money to setup these blaring loudspeakers.

These stuff, which are in a way related to religion and culture, will take a while before laws are made to stop/optimize these activities. Yet, beginning yesterday (which is Baisakh 1 of the new year 2074 according to the Bikramaditya Calender), the government banned use of horns in Kathmandu, the capital, to curb the noise pollution generated by vehicles. A welcome step that is, hopefully, gets extended to other towns in the country. Four to five years later, hope to see more city cars turn electric, thereby further reducing the noise pollution and most importantly, air pollution.
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Old 15th April 2017, 13:20   #10
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Hats off to you Sir. These stories show that as long as you have the patience and perseverance, the system does work. But more importantly, it is these stories that gives the confidence to others to take up similar matters to the authorities.
One of my relative, a senior citizen has been suffering from this noice pollution since his house is near a temple. We did talk to temple authorities but they had been ignoring the complaints.

What should be the next step? Should we file a complaint with police or should we go to Pollution Control Board?
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Old 15th April 2017, 14:19   #11
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Default Re: A long battle against noise pollution - High Court, RTI, Police & more

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
Kudos to you sir ! This is a very good moral booster! I'm bang in middle of 2 Ganpati Mandals and so far my complaints have fallen on deaf ears. But the police do help, but that's only after the 10pm deadline. From 5:30pm-10pm I have to live with the loud disco songs- no way related to Ganapati fest.

I will now take inspiration from you and take up the fight .
Sir, I would personally advise you to refrain from any action to stop the ceremonies altogether. Please bear it till 10PM, and thereafter use your right and might, to stop all blaring loudspeakers.

These are religious festivals, where almost everybody is considered a part of, the people hardly care about others' feelings.
I personally was threatened and abused by the local goons and for sometime, even staying in my own home felt scary (Since my car and I were marked), and they would pass a really dirty look whenever I passed them.
Its not an ordeal worth the risk and effort.
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Old 15th April 2017, 15:54   #12
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Thumbs up Re: A long battle against noise pollution - High Court, RTI, Police & more

Well done Sir.
We need more people like you to curb these activities in our neighborhood. The dedication you showed and the efforts you made are a showcase for people like us who choose to ignore and quit with or without even giving a try to practice our rights and use appropriate law. I guess it's the twitter post which worked for you. We should use social media for assistance in solving these problems as our government and its departments are now more active on social platforms and take action quickly on requests made there.

I, myself am a victim of noise pollution generated by the motorbike(RE with modified exhaust) in my neighborhood and looking for an action against the owner.
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Old 15th April 2017, 16:13   #13
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Default Re: A long battle against noise pollution - High Court, RTI, Police & more

Reminded me of this incident in Ernakulam

A lady fed-up of shooting crew disturbing her family and damaging their property, sets up loud speakers playing music at full volume, powered by a generator so that it keeps on playing even if power supply is cut, locked up her house and leaves the place.


http://naradanews.com/2016/10/saif-a...h-heavy-music/

The shooting of Bollywood star Saif Ali Khans new film 'Chef' was disrupted in Kerala after a woman in neighbourhood decided to play music in high volume
Saif Ali Khan

Witnessing a super star movie shooting is always thrilling for common mass, and a rare opportunity if it’s in the neighboUrhood. But for Auria Keri, a native of Fort Kochi in Kerala, it was an apt moment to stage a protest.

This week, the shooting of Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan’s new film Chef was disrupted in God’s Own Country after a woman in the neighborhood of the shooting site decided to express her hostility against year-long ‘shooting goondaism’.

Tired of continuous film shootings in front of her house, Auria, mother of two, rented a music system and played it in high volume for continuous three hours until the crew left the place.

The shooting of Chef, a new film by Raja Krishna Menon after Airlift, was scheduled in a Cochin Corporation-owned plot with prior permission. The shooting had to stop as team was not able to do spot dubbing due to the ‘music’.

“My family lives in the top floor our house, while we run a spa in the ground floor of the building. All these movie shootings are taking place in a small plot in front our building, putting our daily life in trouble,” says Auria Keri, a former German Embassy official.

Auria Keri said at least 100 films are being shot in this place in a year and the crew acts like ‘gundas’, instructing them how to move around. She complained that it has affected their life and also the business.

“Most of my clients in the spa are foreigners. Who will come here and pay us to suffer from all those noises? I have started this business after taking loan from the bank and how do I am going to run my business without clients,” she asked.

Auria said she had given several complaints to officials, including the District Collector, but no action has been taken yet. The Supreme Court had earlier ruled in favour of her petition regarding the shooting of Mammootty’s Malayalam movie Kammath and Kammath, which took over a month to complete the shooting in Fort Kochi.

“When the shooting of Saif Ali Khan’s movie started here last day, they asked me to move my car that was parked in front of my house. Few ‘gundas’ from the crew even threatened me to move the vehicle. As I got irritated, I went and rented the music system along with a generator and played it in high volume,” Auria said.

The officials have now registered a case against the family for creating noise pollution. Anyways at last even Saif Ali Khan also had no option to defend this 'tricky trolling' rather than clapping.

Last edited by Ramon : 15th April 2017 at 16:16.
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Old 15th April 2017, 16:19   #14
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Default Re: A long battle against noise pollution - High Court, RTI, Police & more

Quote:
Originally Posted by invidious View Post
I decided to pen a two-year saga so that others who might be facing similar issue related to noise pollution and traffic blocking can resolve the issue in a much shorter time span.

Moral - In India, you need infinite patience to deal with the system but if you keep at it they will finally do what is right.
Hats off to you for your perseverance and courage in tackling our inconsiderate system. As a society we are probably the world champions in lack of civic sense. Marry this with a overwhelmed police force and a colonial attitude that the common man who complaints must be shown his place. Congratulations. I salute your moral courage.
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Old 15th April 2017, 20:19   #15
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Congratulations on achieving the desired results after following up on the matter for so long. Nowadays celebrations and festivals have indeed become a nuisance and our mannerless citizens are least concerned about the disturbance and incaonvenience caused to others. Your thread is a reminder that the system does work if you go about it the right way !
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