East Bengaluru demands a honk-free city, City Mayor agrees

BENGALURU: Can Bengaluru become honk-free to put an end to vehicular noise pollution? The East zonal event of Bengaluru Forward campaign became a forum to discuss the issue and find a solution for it.


Responding to a question raised by RWAs on whether the city cannot be made honk free, mayor R Sampath Raj agreed that incessant honking is driving Bengalureans deaf. “We will take up the issue of honking in the council,” he said. Referring to international airports becoming noise free, he said it’s possible to make cities honk-free too. “I will take up the honking menace in the BBMP council and discuss it with my MLA friends so the matter is taken up in the assembly,” said Raj.

Another concern raised during the meet was unmaintained drains. “Ahead of the rainy season, BBMP has to take up desilting work in all side drains. Rs 20 lakh is earmarked for each ward and ward engineers have to take up work. If there are any discrepancies, the matter will be looked into,” said D R Ashok, joint commissioner, BBMP East Zone.

Answering questions by RWAs on the lack of last-mile connectivity for those who use Namma Metro, M Srinivas, chief engineer, BMRCL, said feeder bus service will be provided near all Metro stations shortly. “A committee has been formed in this regard and we have a Directorate of Urban Land Transport and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation. Plans are in progress to provide Metro feeder buses from and to all Metro stations,” he added.

On increased traffic congestion during school hours, the mayor said the Palike is in talks with several stakeholders, including the traffic police, to synchronize school hours and office timings.



RTO conducts no-honking awareness drive in Nagpur

Honking is a menace for India. Time and again, organizations come forward to create awareness about the perils of honking. This time it was the turn of RTO Nagpur that conducted a 4-day no-honking drive in Nagpur. Officers along with city administration participated enthusiastically to create awareness among drivers. The Times of India reported the news.



Sound barrier: Law in place, cops quiet in Delhi

NEW DELHI: Even as Kathmandu has resolutely curbed the use of horns on roads, Delhi — despite a number of awareness campaigns against honking and noise pollution — continues to record high street noise, with major intersections logging decibel levels over 100 dB. In fact, a driver steps out with the belief that navigating Delhi’s wide roads without honking is not possible.

Experts who have been leading the fight against the insistent use of car horns say the effort should not be limited to awareness campaigns. A deterrent in the form of fines and penalties is required if the Indian capital is to go the Kathmandu way.

In the six months till June, the traffic police had booked just 112 people for using pressure horns (in six months since April 14, Kathmandu police has hauled up 15,500 horn users). Police officers pleaded helplessness about a more robust crackdown due to the lack of noise meters.

“Delhi is sidelining the issue of noise pollution and not giving proper attention to the problem,” declared Ravi Kalra, founder of Earth Saviours Foundation. Popularly called the “No Honking Man”, Kalra began fighting against the blaring problem in 2009 when he began stopping truck drivers entering Delhi, blacking out the ‘horn please’ signs on their vehicles and educating them about the problems created by incessant honking. His focus changed to localities, schools and highways within the city and his ‘Do Not Honk’ signboards and stickers has become a regular sight.

“Street cacophony is a very real threat because you can go deaf due to constant exposure to loud horns,” cautioned Kalra. Road users in Delhi could also suffer hypertension, irritability, headaches, sleeping problems and even heart-related problems in the long term.

Like Kalra, other experts too feel that the lack of fear at being punished is one reason why Delhi hasn’t been able to bring down the noise pollution. “At this point, people are certainly aware of silence zones and rules on horn use, but there is no deterrence in the form of penalties,” said Satish Sinha, associate director, Toxics Link, an environmental NGO. “Rules and penalties need to go hand in hand in order to make a difference. Besides, the cops have to impose strict penalties on drivers who change lanes inconsiderately and force people behind them to honk. Even if you fine a thousand people in Delhi, the number of people honking will come down considerably.”

In a study carried out in 2011, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had observed noise levels reaching 100 dB in various commercial and industrial zones in the city, while ambient noise in residential areas were close to 90 dB during peak traffic hours against the standard of 55 dB for residential areas. The busy ITO intersection saw levels between 77.6 dB and 106.9 dB, while the Anand Vihar ISBT and Sangam Vihar bus stop saw the din going up a maximum of 108 dB and 114 dB, respectively. Even the posh locality of W Block in Greater Kailash II recorded noise at 91 dB. The crossing in front of AIIMS saw noise touching an unhealthy 98 dB despite the area falling in the silence zone due to the presence of two hospitals.

 “Delhi needs a clear strategy and police vigilance for noise pollution,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhury of CSE. “Of course, the law does provide for fines and there is adequate signage at intersections informing people about such penalties. However, the enforcement is lacking.” She said that drivers would become more self-conscious about pressing the horn if they had to fork out good sums for violating the norms.

Image Credits| News clipping originally appeared in The Times of India


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