Published On : Fri, Aug 11th, 2017

No loudspeakers in Maharashtra on August 15

Mumbai: An association of loudspeaker and lighting equipment suppliers in Maharashtra on Friday announced that they will not supply their equipment on August 15 to highlight the severe problems faced by them from police and noise pollution activists

The Professional Audio & Lighting Association will observe a ‘Mute Day’ on Independence Day (August 15) in the state, said its President Roger Drego.

The PALA, which has 7,000 members in Maharashtra, besides in all other states and union territories, said their token protest is to focus on the ordeal and losses they suffer when they are accused of violating noise pollution norms due to “misinterpretation and incorrect implementation” of the laws.

The PALA move is expected to directly hit around 15,000 Janmashthami and Dahi-Handi celebrations, besides around 100,000 Independence Day related programmes scheduled in the state, said committee member Manuel Dias.

Besides, the PALA plans to move the Supreme Court soon with a plea to review the existing noise pollution norms and rules which have not been revised since over 15 years.

Its office-bearers said due to the repeated filing of PILs by anti-noise crusaders like Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz Foundation and Mahesh Bedekar, the courts have issued strict directives to police, who in turn come down very heavily on all the sound and light providers.

“These two individuals (Abdulali and Bedekar) have misrepresented facts on the sound pollution caused by the ‘music’ played through the loudspeaker systems. Terming music as ‘noise’ they have misled the courts that music causes harm to an individual,” said Drego.

Dias said that in the event of any complaints, it’s the audio and lights suppliers who bear the brunt of the law with the event organisers getting away but the suppliers facing cases for violation of noise laws, or their expensive international-class equipments confiscated or damaged, resulting in huge losses.

He said they would meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and demand implementation of the law in its right spirit, end to harassment and abuse by police, no confiscation or damage to the sound and lights equipments and speeding up the process of getting licences and permissions.

This is the first time that PALA has resorted to the direct action on August 15 when a national day and a major public festival are coinciding, creating a huge demand for loudspeakers at big and small events.

The PALA hires sound and light equipments to concerts, public rallies, mega-events, weddings, parties, functions and roadside events, inhouse/outdoor programmes, housing complex events, and even domestic events like birthday celebrations.