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City sue for peace as construction sites hit the senses | Bombay News

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MUMBAI: With a record 2,500 construction approvals granted by BMC last year totaling 15 crore square feet of built-up area, citizens are increasingly complaining about dust and noise pollution in the city’s residential areas . Earlier this week, Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey said police stations must register such citizen complaints.
Mahim resident Penelope Tong, fieldwork supervisor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), has not been able to concentrate on her duties at the WFH lately. Even normal interaction with his family has become difficult due to the deafening noise, dust and smoke from diesel generators emanating from a nearby redevelopment site. His elderly parents have not been able to take a nap since the start of the work a few months ago.
Construction industry sources say that in Mumbai, two out of 10 buildings are either being redeveloped or under repair. People are complaining that work continues even at late hours, said anti-noise pollution campaigner Sumaira Abdulali. She said that ideally if the noise exceeds the 55 decibels allowed in a residential area by 10 decibels, it calls for police action. “At most construction sites, I have recorded noise levels of 90 to 100 decibels, which is deafening and absolutely criminal. Engineers supervising construction sites should ideally limit noise and dust by using appropriate barriers and curtains. However, that is not happening at all,” she said.
Civic rules allow construction only between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Of nearly 75,000 housing societies in the Mumbai metropolitan area, about 20% are undergoing redevelopment, said Ramesh Prabhu of the Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association, an apex body of cooperative housing societies in the state. “Many housing companies have decided not to allow noise-related work between 2 and 4 p.m. for sick, elderly and children, who need an afternoon nap. On redevelopment sites, barriers, netting and silencer-mounted machinery are necessary to prevent dust and noise from spreading.
Boman Irani, Chairman of CREDAI-MCHI, the apex developer body, said, “According to BMC’s IOD terms, developers are allowed to work from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. We understand the challenges residents face when this condition is violated (very rarely). Developers always comply with environmental standards. All modern technology is used for construction in Mumbai. But right now, the amount of infrastructure works – metro, coastal road, bridges, pipeline upgrades – in Mumbai is causing additional dust pollution. However, it will help Mumbai become a desirable city.
Abdulali said that under existing laws, police have the power not only to regulate working hours at construction sites, but also to seize equipment. “Any noise above 65 decibels and dust leading to an air quality index above moderate levels (200) are subject to prosecution. Repeat offenses are punishable.”