Hyderabad: When it comes to noise pollution, religious institutions seem to be saying, it is their right. This, in the face of increasing complaints against temples, churches and masjids for playing loud music or chanting prayers on loudspeakers in the banned slot of 10pm-6am.
Many religious groups conduct their programmes through the night or in the early hours of the morning. Residents living nearby have taken to complaint forums to voice their concern.
Rajashekhar Rao, the secretary of welfare association of TRT colony, Vidyanagar, says their colony is surrounded by about 10 mosques and temples that create severe noise pollution. “We don’t want to make it a communal issue, both mosques and temples make it hard for us to live here,” said Rao. With only 200-300 metres of distance between their colony and the religious structures they have to deal with high levels of noise daily.
Religious organisations, however, are not taking to the protests very kindly. Said Raj Kumar of the Ganesh Utsav committee that conducts overnight functions during Ganesh Chaturthi, “Overnight functions and celebrations are a one-off thing for which we take necessary permissions. The prayers help in instilling religious values and peace in people.”
The Muslim call for prayer, Azaan, also came under the scanner when singer Sonu Nigam took to Twitter to criticise mosques for disrupting the silence of the morning. “One must understand that Azaan is just a call for prayer, so if it is not made on loudspeaker, it is meaningless. Also, it lasts just 3-4 minutes,” says Rizwan Qureshi, cleric at Macca Masjid.
The rules on noise levels in public are clear and well explained, but the number of violations are only increasing. According to PCB, noise monitoring data from 11 centres in the city showed 10-15 per cent rise in levels for the month of May. These are attributed to vehicular noise pollution and pollution from indiscriminate use of loud speakers and industrial works.
The police, which is the implementing authority, says that permissions are given with the caution that if violated — that is, sound is above 50 decibels or extends to night — the offenders are liable to face legal action as per the City Police Act.