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The Maharashtra government seems to be using fuzzy logic to justify construction of private helipads in Mumbai. In a recent affidavit filed in the Bombay High Court, the state said allowing helicopters to land and take off will not increase overall noise levels. The central norms limit noise levels to 55 dB during daytime in residential areas; the affidavit said the average noise level for 16 hours (from 6 am to 10 pm) will remain within this limit even if helipads are built. So, technically, the noise rules would not be violated. The affidavit angered activists. “The government’s affidavit exposes the levels to which authorities can stoop to serve private interest over public health,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convenor of the Mumbai non-profit, Awaaz Foundation.
“If the government’s logic is followed, high levels of noise can be allowed as long as an average of 55 dB level is maintained,” she said. The affidavit was filed in response to a petition filed by Abdulali against noise pollution in Mumbai in 2007. Studies conducted by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board earlier said noise during take-off and landing would be 100 to 120 dB. Abdulali contended the noise from helicopters would be over and above the existing noise levels of 80 to 100 dB generated by traffic (see ‘Private helipads, a must for Mumbai’, Down To Earth, January 31, 2010).
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