KOLKATA: It was a less noisy Kali puja and Diwali this year. Even as the police are happy its awareness campaigns are finally showing signs of some success, the brass believes wielding the “stick” in its carrot and stick policy too played a vital role. Till Diwali late night, there have been 765 arrests for noise pollution, another 772 have been arrested for indecent behaviour. But then, as Lalbazar observed, the pattern of arrests have seen a change this year. For years, maximum complaints against crackers have been traditionally central and north Kolkata – like Girish Park, Jorasanko and Shyambazar and pockets in south’s New Alipore and Ballygunge. The arrests though speak a different story.

The added areas of Jadavpur and Behala police divisions (south suburban and southwest divisions in police parlance) have together contributed to over 180 arrests. For two consecutive days, Kasba, Survey Park, Purba Jadavpur contributed to maximum arrests. Giving them close competition were Behala, Parnasree and Sarsuna. A comparison between two divisions might throw up interesting findings. While Behala’s four police stations (Behala, Parnasree, Haridevpur, Sarsuna) saw 92 arrests on Diwali, the south division recorded 67 arrests (consisting of New Alipore, Tollygunge, Bhowanipore, Alipore and Kalighat).

Even a study within south suburban division, the contrasts are stark. For example, on Kali Puja day, police stations of Survey Park and Purba Jadavpur (both dotted with newly erected residential complexes) had arrested 11 people for noise pollution. In contrast, no one under Jadavpur police station – where people have been living for decades – had not recorded even a single arrest. Police maintained that RWAs of Salt Lake and a few other areas along with schools helped spread awareness. While we failed to tackle the noise sharks in pockets of Bangur and Lake Town, in Salt Lake there was significant success. Just 34 arrests were necessitated in the Bidhannagar area by 10 pm on Diwali.

Police said that what worked this time in “trouble areas” was their strategy to tackle the noise pollution head-on. “This was a challenge and we used all resources to reach out to those who were troubled. There were 7000 men on ground and our auto rounds meant we could warn youngsters that we will be act if they dared to challenge us. The strategy worked,” said an officer. He though admitted that certain areas like Dhakuria, Kasba and Haridevpur broke all noise records despite all their efforts.

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Source: TOI-Kol