New Delhi, August 14: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has cleared hefty penalties for violation of noise pollution norms, proposed by the Central Pollution Control Board, which may go as high as Rs 1 lakh.

In an order dated August 11, NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel also ordered the constitution of a monitoring committee headed by retired high court judge SP Garg to ensure compliance of noise pollution rules in the national Capital, Hindustan Times reported.

In a report submitted to the NGT on June 12, the CPCB had proposed penalties for various violations. Approving the fines, Goel said, “We are of the view that the compensation scale laid down by the CPCB for defaulters may be enforced throughout India. The CPCB may issue appropriate statutory orders for the purpose of being complied with in all States/UTs.”

According to the CPCB report, a fine of Rs 10,000 would be levied for misuse of loudspeakers and public address system, besides seizure of equipment. Noise pollution from diesel generators of more than 1000 KVA capacity would attract a fine of ₹1 lakh and the equipment would be sealed. Noise beyond permissible levels at construction sites would invite a penalty of ₹ 50,000 and seizure of equipment.

Permissible noise levels for residential areas is 55 decibels (dB [A]) during the day and 45 dB(A) at night. The standards for industrial areas are 75 dB (A) during the day and 70 dB (A) at night. The standard noise limit for silence zones such as hospitals and educational institutions during day time is 50 dB (A) and 40dB (A) during the night.

The central board had also proposed heavy penalties for bursting firecrackers that cause sound beyond the permissible limits. A person can be fined Rs 1,000 for bursting crackers in a residential area and Rs 3,000 in a silence zone. The fine for the same offence in a public rally or procession would be Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000 for residential and silence zones respectively.

“In case of repeat violation within a fixed premise, the penalty will be doubled to ₹20,000. More than two violations will cost the defaulter, a penalty of ₹ 1 lakh and sealing of premises,” the CPCB had proposed in its report.

Senior CPCB officials did not offer a comment, saying the anti-pollution body had submitted the detailed report to the NGT.

Currently, the use of loudspeakers or playing loud music at weddings, events and restobars is not allowed beyond 11pm and can result in confiscation of equipment, a fine of upto ₹ 5,000 as well as imprisonment up to 5 years, depending on the gravity of the violation under the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000.

With regard to the constitution of a monitoring committee in Delhi, the NGT said besides the retired HC judge heading the body, it may also have representatives from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), Delhi Police and the Delhi chief secretary as its members. “The committee may seek assistance from experts or other public institutions and submit a report before the next hearing,” Goel said in his order.

The NGT will hold the next hearing on April 15,2021.

In a report submitted on August 6 to the tribunal, the DPCC had stated that 26 new noise monitoring systems have been set up in addition to the existing five at various locations, including residential, commercial, industrial and silence zones. However, the DPCC had said that except for industrial areas, noise levels had exceeded the day and night permissible limits at all other locations.

Omesh Saigal, former Delhi chief secretary and a petitioner in the matter of noise pollution, said, “It is an important step and may create a deterrent. But the important bit is the enforcement of the order. Each time an order is passed, it lacks enforcement. If implemented well, it can create public consciousness that noise pollution is actually harmful for health and help bring a positive change.”

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