The Karnataka government on Tuesday ordered residents to obtain permission from authorities to use loudspeakers or remove them within 15 days, NDTV reported.
The directive was issued a day after members of the Hindutva organisation Sri Ram Sene played Hanuman Chalisa on temple loudspeakers in Karnataka to counter the alleged disturbance caused by azaan, or Muslim call for prayer.
The group’s chief Pramod Muthalik alleged that the state government had failed to act against loudspeakers in mosques. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai held a meeting on the same day, after which the circular was issued, PTI reported.
“Those who do not obtain permission, should voluntarily remove loudspeakers or public address systems and sound-producing instruments or else the same shall be removed by the designated authority within 15 days from the deadline given,” the order stated.
Use of loudspeakers was banned between 10 pm and 6 am, except in auditoriums, conference rooms, community halls and banquet halls. Vehicles are also banned from honking between 10 pm and 6 am in residential areas, except in certain circumstances.
Anybody who fails to comply with the provisions of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, will be booked under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the circular added.
“The noise level at the boundary of the public place, where loudspeaker or public address system or any other noise source is being used shall not exceed 10 decibels above the ambient noise standards for the area or 75 decibels, whichever is lower,” it said.
For industrial areas, the decibel limit is set at 75 decibels for the day and 70 decibels for the night. In commercial areas, it is fixed at 65 decibels in the morning and 55 decibels in the night.
It is fixed at 55 decibels during the day and 45 decibels at night for residential areas. In silent zones, it is 50 decibels in the morning and 40 decibels at night.
Permission to use the loudspeakers can be given by the commissionerates areas, the assistant commissioner of police, jurisdictional executive engineer of the civic body and a representative of the pollution control board.
Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik thanked the government for issuing the order.
“I extend my gratitude to the Karnataka government for issuing a notification,” he said, PTI reported. “We have decided to withdraw our state-wide agitation against the misuse of loudspeakers.”
On April 4, Muthalik had asked the Karnataka government to remove loudspeakers from mosques, saying they lead to noise pollution. Sri Ram Sene had also threatened to protest if the government failed to act on Muthalik’s demand.