Even in the bustling city of Navi Mumbai, the need for Silence Zone cannot be ignored. But surprisingly, the city was not having a single Silence Zone around educational, social, religious institutions, hospitals, etc.
Following persistent demand from our readers, Cityplus took up the issue with all concerned authorities from Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation to Police Department to Traffic Police. And within two months around 35 spots were declared as Silence Zones. This decision welcomed by all concerned institutions whose office-bearers were running from pillar to post for the convenience.
Vijay Patil Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic) informs, “As the sound pollution is rising day by day its impact is being felt on the mental and physical health of residents. We have declared 30 spots in the year 2009 as ‘Silence Zones’. Use of vehicular horns, loudspeakers and bursting of crackers are banned in these zones. We have also installed sound barrier gadgets at many spots to curb the problem. Anyone found violating the rules would be penalized as per the law. But declaration of Silence Zone does not ensure compliance, unless it is enforced. Mahaveer Bhai Jain, member of the Jain Association of Youth says, “We were really happy to know that such a wonderful step has been taken but very soon we realized that our problems are far from over. Honking continues to disturb us the way it used to earlier”.
Social worker Inderjeet Singh says, “In front of MGM Hospital there is a board of Silence Zone. But motorists do not shy away from honking here. May be they read the sign as Sound Zone and not Silence Zone”.
A motorist when asked why he honked in front of the hospital, says sagely, “People coming out from hospital are usually tense or depressed. Hence they may not notice vehicles and the possibility of accidents increases. So to ensure that nothing unfortunate happens, we have to honk.” Similarly, if one stands in front of the Navi Mumbai Sports Association (NMSA) near Sacred Heart High School there is another reason for violation. As there are three roads in front of NMSA gate, motorists coming from either side are seen honking. “There is no traffic signal here and as one can’t see an oncoming vehicle, there is a need to honk. The only solution is to have a traffic signal here,” says a motorist .
— Jaspal Singh Naol