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Gadgets issued to nab defaulters of decibel limit

Kolkata: The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) is taking all possible measures to rein in sound demons during Kali Puja and Diwali. WBPCB has handed more than nearly 1,200 modern sound-measuring gadgets with advanced technology to the police for keeping tab on the sound limit of crackers or loudspeakers. The decibel limit in the state is earmarked at 90.

The gadgets will be attached with a printer, which will enable the police to issue challans related to violation of permissible sound limit immediately to the violator.

"We have ensured that every single police station in the state has two such GPS-enabled gadgets. There are nearly 6 00 police stations across the state," said Soumen Mahapatra, state Environment minister. The WBPCB has provided periodic training to the cops on handling of such instrument at Barrackpore Police Training School. "For the first time training has been held at Police Training School in Kolkata," a senior official of WBPCB said. Last time, 540 such instruments were handed over to the police.

The WBPCB has laid special emphasis on public awareness about permissible sound limit at the block level and at the panchayat level across the state. "The awareness campaign has been strengthened with less than a fortnight to go before Kali Puja," the minister said.

The WBPCB has prepared a list of the cracker manufacturing units across the state that are operating with their approval. Forty-eight cracker manufacturing units are registered with the Board and 33 of these are located in South 24-Parganas.

North 24 Parganas has seven such units, Howrah has six and one each is located in Hooghly and Siliguri.

"We have instructed the police to identify illegal cracker manufacturing units and take action as per law," Mahapatra said.

The WBPCB gets complaints regarding blaring of loud speakers, playing DJ music or similar type of sound level violations throughout the year, but reining sound demons during Kali Puja and Diwali is the toughest challenge faced by PCB officials.

WBPCB has launched the Paribesh app, a few days before the Durga Puja, where people can lodge their complaints of sound limit violations and similar complaints.

"The involvement of the civil society is of prime importance in curbing pollution," said Rajesh Kumar, member secretary of WBPCB.

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