BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
Swizel from Vagator spends her nights recording levels of noise pollution instead of studying for her Std XII exam. There are many like her, but they are suffering the sound in silence.
Her neighbour Jovita Fernandes and Janie Crasto too have openly expressed their angst, but their voices have been drowned by the loud music played by clubs in the neighbourhood.
Janie has a differently-abled son and Jovita Fernandes has lost three members of her family over the years. Their situation is just helpless, to say the least.
With no authorities coming to their rescue, these women, who are left with no choice, have decided to approach the High Court to stop the noise pollution that is destroying their lives.
“We dial 112 and are told the Anjuna Police needs to be contacted. The phone at the Anjuna police station is never working when loud music is being played and therefore with no hope in sight, the High Court is our only choice,” reasons Janie Crasto who is pushed to the wall with the indifference of the authorities.
“I went to our MLA Delilah Lobo to complain and she called the owners of the clubs. There was no noise for a few days and then they started all over again. When one club starts playing, all others follow and it is crazy,” admits Jovita Fernandes.
Many clubs in Vagator are situated in residential areas and hence the sound decibels stipulated to be adhered to have no bearing.
“I once called the owner of the club next to my house to show him the condition of my aunty who begged that she not be disturbed. It turned up to be a farce. They play loud music till 10 pm for a few days after we complained and then started playing all night,” says an exasperated Jovita.
“There is a place called Pappi Chulo Hostel that is less than six meters from my house and they start playing loud music only at 10 pm and finish in the morning. I have downloaded a decibel app that shows they are playing 79 decibels at 4 am in the morning,” discloses Jovita whilst demonstrating her recording.
“Playing loud music in residential areas has definitely not been permitted by the High Court. Yet, despite written requests to police and the other authorities, loud music is played regardless of any judgment and matters are getting too bad,” argues Beatriz Fernandes, another lady whose family is affected.
In a letter addressed to the Police Inspector of Anjuna, Superintendent of Police, North Goa and his SDPO, dated February 2, 2023, the villagers stated:
“We the undersigned would like to bring to your kind notice that in Vagator, resort/restaurants/clubs 1) The Omera Beach Club, 2) Raeeth Club, 3) Banana Forest,4) Papi Chulo Hostel,5) Disco Valley,6 )W Goa play extremely loud music beyond 10 pm until morning flaunting the High Court orders. In addition, such horrific music is played for 3 consecutive days i.e, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.”
“It is obvious that even after meeting our MLA that nothing can be done to stop this nuisance, approaching the High Court again is our only option. As wives, we have a family to look after but if we need to sacrifice our time to go to court, we will,” assure Janie and her other colleagues gathered.
“Believe us, this is our last resort as we have failed in everything we tried. Our families come first. We can see the deterioration and if we keep quiet, all the fingers will point at us and we cannot afford to do so,” claimed Rita Ali.
“I grew up seeing peacocks around my house. Today, trees have brazenly been cut and despite living close to the church, I have to leave twenty minutes before time for mass because of the traffic chaos. Outsiders may have bought the government officials, but they cannot buy us,” storms Janie.
The hundred-odd ladies of Vagator are now set to show money can buy some people all times, but definitely not their resolve or the High Court in Goa.