Patiala, June 22
Setting a precedent, the Jathedars of all five Takhts have issued an edict asking all gurdwaras to turn loudspeakers off during “ardas” (religious prayer) and limit the sound within the premises. Buoyed by the order, the Punjab Pollution Control Board has decided to ask other religious institutions to ensure the level of noise pollution is kept in check.
During a meeting at Akal Takht on June 14, the five Jathedars directed all gurdwaras to “keep the sound of speakers within their premises”. Praising the decision, the PPCB has asked worshipers to impress upon all gurdwara management committees to follow the edict.
Enquiries revealed that many gurdwaras have started switching off speakers following the order.
Three months back, the PPCB had conducted a study to measure the noise level produced by loudspeakers at various religious places in villages.
Under the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, the permissible noise limit during night hours (10 pm to 6 am) in residential areas is 45dB (decibel). However, samples of noise levels taken around various religious places, including gurdwaras, temples and mosques, between 4 am and 6 am were found to be two to three times higher.
The sound level was 60-88 dB at the boundary wall, 53-87 db at 100 metres from the wall, and 50-72 dB at a distance of 200 metres.
“Higher values of noise level have an adverse effect on human health,” said pollution control board chairman Kahan Singh Pannu.
The police have been struggling to act against religious institutions despite complaints from students and elderly residents.