A 100-meter area of all prominent religious places, including temples, mosques, gurudwaras and churches of Guwahati city and its suburbs, have been declared as a “silent zone” through a notification issued on Friday by the District Magistrate of Kamrup (Metro) district M Angamuthu, reported The Indian Express. The notification states that the order was issued in “compliance with the direction received from the Government of Assam” in this connection. It further states directives for the State Pollution Control Board to submit reports on noise pollution in these zones, every month.
The issue of loudspeakers being used at religious places has recently raised a debate after singer Sonu Nigam’s tweets questioning their use at places of worship. However, neither the notification issued by Angamuthu directly refer to the use of microphones and loudspeakers in places of worship nor has he commented on its contents. Asked about it by The Indian Express, Angamuthu said, “anyway, the use of loudspeakers is not permitted between 10 pm and 6 am.” The BJP-led government in Assam has not commented so far.
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The notification states that the decision was taken under Rule 3 (2) of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, of the Environment Protection Act of 1986. Five areas have been marked as silent zones in Guwahati including all government and private hospitals; educational institutions; courts including the high court, district and sessions court and the CJM’s court; all government offices; and “all prominent religious places inclusive of temples, gurudwaras, mosques, churches, monastery, math and naam-ghar, etc”. As per Rule 3 (2), the “State Government may categorise the areas into industrial, commercial, residential or silence areas/zones for the purpose of implementation of noise standards for different areas”.
Through the notification, the officials of the Public Works Department to place proper signages in the notified areas within 15 days with regard to it. It further asked the State Pollution Control Board to collect, compile and publish technical and statistical data relating to noise pollution as well as measures taken for its effective prevention and control.