Delhi metro has gained immense popularity ever since it has been introduced to the city. It’s nothing less than a blessing for lakhs of people who use it. But there is a 95-year-old man for whom it has been nerve-wracking. LR Goela, a resident of south Delhi’s Kailash Colony can feel intense tremors every time a metro passes his home.
In an attempt to solve this problem, he has filed as many as 800 RTIs in the hope of some intervention by the authorities. The super-senior citizen is determined to win the struggle of living in peace, which is his right, and has approached several ministries but to no avail.
An old-time Delhiite, he migrated from Haryana in 1938 and retired from the Ministry of Defense in 1980. He and his wife suffer from hypertension and have been advised by doctors to live in calm surroundings. But owing to the noise created by the Delhi Metro, they cannot even open the windows of their house to let the fresh air in.
Undeterred on his mission, Goela told DNA,
I have filed around 800 RTIs in different ministries and departments, including DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation), the Urban Development Ministry, the Central Pollution Control Board and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee. But there has been no action yet. We were living peacefully here until the Kailash Colony metro station was constructed. Now we feel tremors every three minutes when a metro train passes by. We have spent so much to bring some relief for our ailing father but it hardly makes any difference as the windows and doors still shake with every metro (train) passing by.
Owing to his old age and hearing issues, he needs to wear hearing-aid to be able to listen properly, but he says,
I can’t wear my hearing plugs all the time as the noise coming in would amplify and make it unbearable for me. I only use them while talking to someone. The unbearable noise and tremors coming in due to the metro station make the situation even worse for us. I have lived my life but my family has to live here after me. I am fighting to give them a peaceful life.
As per experts’ opinion, residents of Delhi are exposed to extremely high levels of noise pollution which goes up to 65-70 dB during the day and 50- 55 dB during the night. Research also pointed out that those living in areas near the roads are more exposed to the noise. The government has, however, not laid any rules to combat noise pollution at sites of construction except for imposing the limits of 55 dB (day) and 45 (night). The construction sites must take initiatives at their end to minimize the noise pollution by taking steps such as using acoustic barriers, erecting temporary walls with concrete/brick or use iron barriers etc. Most developed countries, on the other hand, follow mandatory steps so that the sounds can be absorbed to the maximum and least noise pollution is created.
LR Goela has been filing RTIs with the help of his son Arun Jindal, an Indian Navy officer posted in Kolkata. Responding to the matter, a DMRC official said that the noise barriers have already been installed in parts of the metro station immediately after Goela complained for the first time in 2010. However, it still continues to be a major matter of concern for the 95-year-old and his wife.