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I was glad that my neighborhood offered everything I needed for raising up my kid. A secure environment, friendly neighbors, wide open space for children play area , school, hospital and market place just at walking distance from my place.

What more could I have asked for after shifting to a small town from a big metro? I really liked the stretch of vacant roads which was otherwise never available in metro city. Fresh veggies from the nearby field brought by local women in the morning everyday was a boon unlike the weekly Wednesday market in the metro wherein I loaded my fridge with veggies for the whole week ahead. I also enjoyed the guava tree in the backyard and the sparrows chirping the entire day which refreshed back memories of my childhood.

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In my enthusiasm I completely overlooked the Baraat ghar (community hall) in my neighborhood    . At the very end of the children play area stood the building that hosted all sort of ceremonies throughout the year. And being one of the park facing houses we are the mock spectator of all the ceremonies that were held in this hall. Oh! Wait it’s not the hall anymore. They have started hosting lawn parties too and the venue is the children’s play area. Be it birthday party, wedding or any other function they just didn’t mind putting up a shamiana (tent) in the park and playing the loudspeaker.

I really don’t bother whether I am invited in these parties or not though the chances of invitation are rare as we have just shifted and do not have many acquaintances. However, what bothers me is the loudspeaker which keeps on banging till late nights or rather until the party is over.  We arrived here during the rainy season which lasts for couple of months and it rains like cat and dog. So we had no idea what it would be like after Diwali when the marriage season starts.

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Imagine you cannot hear your own voice in your own house when they start the Dj. Even when I am writing this the loud speaker is playing some kirtan and the time now is 11.00 pm. Well this is not the situation here alone. We Indians have a knack of doing everything loud. We love making a fish market of everything. Today one of my neighbors is having ear piercing ceremony of their six year old daughter and since the morning the punditji is performing puja chanting mantras and kirtan on the loudspeaker.

I wonder what the point of loudspeaker is in this entire ceremony other than disturbing people. Somebody must be sick, someone must be preparing for exam next day and imagine the plight of infants and old people. Can anybody sleep tonight? But why do we have this situation in our society now. Earlier whatever be the ritual loud speaker was never a part of it. I remember the loudspeaker being played only during festivals and fete to attract people. But when the rituals and celebrations are personal so what is the point of playing the sound so loud. People who are part of it enjoy while people like me who are not are only victimized.

Nowadays people just want a chance to play the loud speaker with the bollywood chartbusters the whole day and if that is not enough then after a hectic day when you come to relax at home you are tortured by the Jagratas (singing lords name in bollywood tunes). Is the God really listening? Has anybody heard of “decibel”??

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You know what, I think god is listening. Just now the police patrol team came and instructed my neighbor to switch off the loud speaker and perform their puja within themselves and not among the sleepy neighbors. So the noise pollution for the day I think has subsided till the morning. So now I can clearly think what I wanted to write.

I would like to thank you first for coming through with me this far as the noise outside was very disturbing and I could not concentrate on my thoughts. Okay so what I wanted to convey is our country has Loud Speaker Act which for some reason has failed to implement. Maybe because of our ignorance or our lethargy in taking any action. So now a little insight into the noise pollution and law as it may have affected your life as well.

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Government of India has enacted the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to control the increasing ambient noise level in public places from various sources, industrial activity, construction activity, generator sets, loud speakers, public address system, music systems, vehicular horns, and other mechanical devices. In fact loudspeaker or a public address system shall not be used except after obtaining written permission from the authorities under Rule 5. Authorities mean District Magistrate, Police Commissioner and other officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police. And it cannot be used at night (between 10.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m.) except in closed premises for communication within, e.g. auditorium, conference rooms, conference rooms, community halls and banquet halls. According to other Supreme Court directions, even the peripheral noise level of privately owned sound systems should not exceed five A-weighted decibels. Also beating a drum or blowing a trumpet or using any sound amplifier during the eight-hour period is not permitted.

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The thing is if we do not take action then as a victim of noise pollution we should be ready to face the music in the long run. Noise does affect our body. It causes stress and increases blood pressure which ultimately affects the heart. Not having proper sleep at night can cause headache, mood swing and low performance in work. So do not blame your boss if he gives you a bad remark at work. Nevertheless if you are a pet owner then imagine the plight of your pet who could not even speak out for itself. You must have seen them take the darkest corner of your house during Diwali but they are equally tortured when someone uses the loud speaker all day long. Lately I have observed my child raising the volume of the TV whenever he watches a program. He says he is unable to listen otherwise. It is definitely an alarm for me. My next door neighbor also complaints of high pulse beat whenever the Dj plays in the baraat ghar. In spite of all these problems we still let them hurt our self.

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With so much said what can be done if somebody violates these norms. Well as the Act says they can be penalized and punished for the same. So let’s think of some peace now. After all there are so many things one can feel happy listening. So next time you suffer from noise pollution in your neighborhood make a visit there and make an appeal to them to lower the sound of the music system or loud speaker. And nothing comes out of it then feel free to dial “100” and get relieved.

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