Hyderabad: Honking continues as police is ill-equipped to measure it

Sound meters need to be used to measure the noise at an area.

Hyderabad: While the traffic police is marking silent zones and expects motorists to restrain from honking, its personnel are ill-equipped to measure violation of sound pollution norms.

Several areas, including those having hospitals, educational institutions, high-level government offices and residential areas, are categorised as “no honking” or silent zones.

Sound meters need to be used to measure the noise at an area. “Generally, the offender needs to be caught and the decibel level recorded for him to be charged. In the absence of a sound meter, we do not book cases as its leads to unnecessary arguments with the motorists,” said a traffic inspector. The police stops vehicles that play loud music, use shrill horns or create sound nuisance in prohibited areas.

“We can identify those using high volume horns fitted to motorcycles and cars. Cases are registered as per the Motor Vehicle Rules and penalties imposed. To book them under pollution related laws, we need to have sound meters,” the inspector said.

The Pollution Control Board has different norms for commercial and residential areas. The sound in several commercial areas is higher than the prescribed limit of 65 dB (decibels), while in residential areas and silent zones, it exceeds the maximum of 55 dB and 50 dB.

Even in silent zones there are no checks by the cops either due to ignorance or other requirements, including traffic management. “Our priority is traffic management and documentation checking. Later we focus on preventing road accidents. Sound pollution is the least of the priorities and taken up only when special complaints are reported or special drive is taken up,” said another traffic police inspector.

The sound levels are high in commercial areas including in Punjagutta, Abids, Paradise and other places, especially due to honking and faulty vehicle engines. The PCB says noise levels affect public health.

The police has registered only a handful of cases when it comes sound pollution, and they are cases mostly pertaining to use of shrill horns. In Hyderabad 232 cases were booked, 173 in Cyberabad and 153 in Rachakonda.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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