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Noisy Metro disrupts Sobo life

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
By Sonali Telang

The upcoming Metro Line III has got citizens at loggerheads with the authorities for the thousands of  trees that the ambitious mega project is claiming. Now, the residents of South Mumbai are suffering due to the soaring noise levels from the construction work of the Metro III. Residents of Cuffe Parade have claimed that the noise levels have exceeded 100 decibels (dB) at certain times and sites.

Residents of South Mumbai had earlier moved the Bombay High Court against the issue of noise pollution emerging from the construction work. The petition stated that the construction equipment being used – including the trucks, drills, hammers, cranes and other vehicles, and the equipment used to bore holes to a depth of 50-100 feet – continuously cause noise levels in the range of 90-100 dB even during the night.

On August 12, the High Court had directed the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) to restrain the construction work from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. However, Cuffe Parade and Churchgate residents have asserted that the excavation work being carried out by the MMRC during the day has led to continuous noise with levels exceeding the standard limit of 55 db in residential areas. Moreover, the senior citizens from these residential societies have to put up with sleepless afternoons, supposedly a nap time for those suffering with chronic illness.

“On a regular basis, noise levels are in the region of 90-100 dB during the day and about 70-80 dB at night. Sometimes the noise levels exceed 100 dB even at night. Along with the noise, the construction equipment causes a lot of vibrations. I am suffering from frequent headaches due to the constant banging and clanging noise and have resorted to pain killers,” said petitioner Robin Jaisinghani.

Jaisinghani told The Afternoon D&C that around 65 residents of Cuffe Parade have approached him regarding their grievances against the noise emanating from the metro work. These include the residents who have signed a letter to the MMRCL regarding the issue. Residents have pointed out that at times children are forced to stay indoors even during the evening due to the constant exposure of loud noise from the piling work.

The noise levels have been measured by Robin Jaisinghani, the petitioner from his residence which is effectively on the 4th floor at a distance of about 50 to 60 feet from the site from which the noise was emanating. Even with the closed window, the noise level soared up to 80 decibels.

Cuffe Parade resident Havovi Sukhadwala has explained her ordeal in a separate letter to the Metro authority, “This is to inform you that my grandmother, Mrs. Hira S.Pithawalla is a 93-year-old resident of Cuffe Parade staying at Dalamal Park Society. She is wheelchair-bound and suffering from atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beats), glaucoma, and acute diverticulitis. Due to the Metro 3 digging work happening for 24 hours before the high court had put interim stay to stop work at night till September 2017, she was having poor sleep due the loud clanging sounds of the machines in the night. More so, she has felt earthquake like strong tremors which give her strong palpitation in her heart, chest pain and fear due the high decibel sounds in excess of 100 db. This has affected her health due to poor sleep patterns which has gradually resulted in a state of Acute Diverticulitis involving inflammation in the large intestine and pain for which she had to be admitted to the hospital yesterday. It is torturous to be surrounded by 100dB of noise throughout the day in the 4 walls of the house and digging at night makes it more stressful to get sound sleep... Also with lack of sleep at night the glaucoma problem has got aggravated due to which she cannot even pass her time in that wretched noisy atmosphere either reading or watching TV. I thus humbly request you to not get back to working at night post September 2017, as no amount of medication compared to sleep at night will help her recover faster. She cannot resort to sleeping tablets as its dangerous for her nervous system and insomnia does lead to deep dementia and depression especially in senior citizens.”

Havovi Sukhadwala told The Afternoon D&C that despite the restriction imposed by the Bombay High Court for metro related activity post 10 pm, machines that produce a loud sound were used after 12:30 am on Sunday which was only stopped after the residents intervened. “The kind of piling work they are doing is having an echoing impact, so with one thud or loud bang follows the another creating double the noise. We do not wish to be an obstacle in the work the metro however we asking for an empathetic attitude towards several senior citizens like our grand mother is silently suffering.  I was told by a civil engineer that the rule states that work with noise has to stop between 2pm to 4 pm also,” said Sukhadwala.

Meanwhile, in an affidavit to the Bombay High Court, the MMRC has maintained that the metro rail body does not come under the jurisdiction of the Noise Pollution rules. "The matter is sub-judice and we are presenting our point before the Honorable Bombay High Court. We at MMRC, would like to highlight that we, along with our contractors, are working in a way that will create minimum disturbance to the daily life of Mumbaikars" said a spokesperson from MMRC. The matter is slated to be heard again in the High Court today.

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