THE UTTAR Pradesh administration’s notice seeking enforcement of its rules regarding the use of loudspeakers at religious places in the run-up to Eid and other festivals explains the decibel limit in layman’s terms. As per this notice, the decibel levels can range between the noise at a busy crossing but without vehicle horns (the maximum), and one that prevails inside a park (the minimum).
While both mosques and temples across Lucknow are taking steps to meet the noise requirement, the apprehension on both sides is that the authorities would not fairly interpret the limits, leaving them open to harassment.
The decibel level for loudspeakers in industrial zones is set at 75dB during the daytime, with the notice explaining that 70dB would be like the noise made at a busy traffic intersection. For commercial areas, the limit is 65 dB during the daytime, with 60dB explained as two-three people holding a conversation. The noise limit for residential areas is 55dB during daytime and for silence zones, like those near schools, hospitals etc, it is 50dB during daytime. As per the notice, 50dB is like the sound that would be inside a library. 40dB, which is to be maintained at night in the silence zone, is like the noise level in parks and gardens, it says.
Till 4 pm on Friday, as many as 37,000 loudspeakers have been removed from across the state, and the sound level of 54,000 loudspeakers has been reduced, a senior government official said.
At Ek Minara Masjid in the Old City area of Lucknow, the mosque committee members have removed two of the masjid’s four loudspeakers. They say they took these down voluntarily, thus averting a notice. The nearby Masjid Aisha at Chaudhari Garaiya was served a notice by the local police station three days back.
Many temples in the Old City area, like the Santoshi Mata one, are playing evening aarti on the music system now. The Mahant says he has not been visited by any official to check for noise rules.
Among the temples to have received a notice is an old Hanuman mandir at Chanchikuan, near the Chaudhary Garaiya Mosque. “We don’t use loudspeakers but on occasions like Bara Mangal (Big Tuesday), there are special events, people want bhajans to be played loudly. You cannot test God,” says chief priest Mahant Baba Anjani Das.
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