31 October 2006

Noise pollution

A Writ Petition seeking the authorities to prevent the use of loud speakers along the 14km giripradakshina path around Arunachala was filed in the Madras High Court on September 29th.

The Petition was filed by the Arunachala Education and Environment Development Trust and referred to the indiscriminate use of loud speakers during the numerous festivals celebrated by people of 13 villages in Tiruvannamalai District and by some religious establishments on the giripradakshina path. The arbitrary use of loud speakers is causing severe noise pollution to devotees coming to Tiruvannamalai to perform prayful circumbulation of the Hill.

The Arunachala Education and Environment Development Trust also handed over a Petition to the District Collector and Environment Engineer of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), Vellore. This Petition had sought to prohibit the use of loud speakers along the Girivalam path on July 28 and September 11 this year, but it received no response.

The Trust presented its case to the Court by adding that there are around 13 Ashrams, 8 Lingams, 34 Temples, and 20 Schools along the giripradakshina pathway and hence action must be taken to uphold the directions of the Supreme Court regarding the use of loud speakers during festivals and meetings.

The Madras High Court adjourned the matter, seeking reply from the Respondents, i.e. District Collector and Environment Engineer of the TNPCB within four weeks.

Previously Temples would hire musicians to play celebratory music during Festivals but the sound was localised as there were no loud speakers to broadcast throughout the countryside. However nowadays with the availability of electricity, sound systems and powerful amplifiers, many Shrines and Temples around the Hill broadcast a continuous din throughout the day.

It is very distressing to the animals, the ambiance of the countryside, its residents and also to the many pilgrims coming from long distances to enjoy the peace and tranquility of Arunachala.

When I previously lived in the built up area of Ramana Nagar (near Ramana Ashram and Seshadri Ashram), several Temples on the Chengam Road would start up sound systems and loud speakers at 3.30 a.m. each morning. I've heard in some metropolitan areas in north India there have been many successful legal challenges to this sort of raucous disturbance. I'm delighted that a local Trust is now Petitioning the Court on this matter and have no doubt that most locals hope they succeed in curtailing this noise pollution.


Divyakka said...

Yes, wherever I have gone in India, I had to deal with the noise pollution. It gets worse when more than one party hooks up their loudspeakers - resulting in a "fight" of the sound waves, with our eardrums being smashed in the process!

Arunachala Living said...

There have been many surveys done on noise pollution. One of the most fascinating findings of surveys is that noise pollution is much worse for the victim that it is inflicted on. The person creating the pollution, because they are in control of the noise, is not affected in the same damaging way. Its not an accident that noise is actually used as an effective 'torture'.