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Putting a stop to noisy construction activity in the night

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A member posted the following query on the SaveKoramangala Y-group, in the subject connection:

Does anyone know if there are rules on what time construction can continue in a residential area? Off late the Shantinagar work has been continuing well over 12 midnight. They run heavy earthmoving eqpt (JCB) and honk constantly. Can a police complaint be done?

It led to the following responses, which I thought contained a lot of useful information which could be of use to citizens faced with similar situations, not necessarily pertaining to the subject alone:

As per High court directive, construction is prohibited from 6 PM to 8 AM.

Here is an interesting episode that happened 1 week back.

As I personally felt disturbed by the construction activity happening next door. However when we were disturbed untill 1 AM, I went to talk with the supervisor armed with the newspaper cut-out (it is still with me). The supervisor working for builder was downright rude and challenged me to call the cops and stall the work. According to him, there was no way the adjoining apartment could have been disturbed as folks within the same building had not complained yet. He seem to be going crazy talking how other unrelated issues. I decided not to confront him.   

I then promptly called Vivekanagar P S and the cops arrived after almost 30 mins. I explained the situation and escorted them to the site. On the insistence of the supervisor, I was told to stay outside the building while they conversed. I am not sure what happened, but the cops returned about 10 mins later and told me the issue is sorted and the activity has been stopped. However, on returning home and post 15 minutes, the activity resumed.

As none others from my building seems bothered about it (no issue was escalated to me, being the association president) I did not pursue it again.

But, I really wonder if residents were truly undisturbed by the activity in their own building, or do not seem to care or confront.

In your case, I strongly recommend that you inform the cops. Do it couple of times (however, different people should call) and the folks will be wary of it.

When you call the cops make sure you call on 100 and not any landline. Reason is the complain automatically is recorded so that have to close that properly. Also if many residents from the area call 100 at same time, issue will get escalated and local inspector will not have option but to shut construction after 6.30. Do this on every instance and builder will come on the table to agree with terms.
A year ago I had a similar experience with the same Police Station. But it got resolved when I made a written complaint, met the Inspector and demanded to know why Police was lethargic/disinterested/scared of taking action even though there was a law to protect them. I insisted on getting acknowledgement to my complaint, which was reluctantly given. No activity took place for two nights but later again we were disturbed by late night noise of unloading trucks. I then called the Inspector and warned him that  I will name him personally as a complicit in activity taking place in contravention of law. I also told him that the matter will be escalated. Work at night stopped completely thereafter.

The status now is that  there is a recent High Court order which has given directions that no work can be allowed after a certain time in the evening. It is a detailed order in a case involving a big time national level builder working in JP nagar. So I suggest that:
1. RWAs in adjacent areas where work is under way at night, make a joint appeal/complaint to the Police Inspector. Put his name. Mark a copy to ACP and DCP of the area. Take an acknowledgement.
2. Meet the ACP and DCP if the Inspector does not respond favourably.
3. Send a notice through a lawyer to the Construction company warning that they are in contempt of court if they work beyond 6.30 (or 6.00, whichever is the time as per law).

Important thing is that a group or groups should jointly make representation and NOT individuals.

The development project is going to be a long term affair and I think we should have a sustainable action plan to see that while work does not stop, but it can not be at the cost of our peace or quality of life.

You can also make a complaint via email. Please go to Bangalore Police website and the format is there*. This complaint also goes to the commissioners office so there is no place to hide for the concerned PS not to react. As suggested, Calling 100 is another step we can take simultaneously. All these steps would help us later in case we have to approach the court for relief.

I would however feel that an attempt should be made to meet the Inspector first, because he is actually the operational in charge of the area and we want him on our side too. Complaints on phone only result in the squad to come on the spot, collect their tea money and that is it. The builders are a strong lobby and normally cover their flanks well. On record  Police  reacted to your complaint, made a note in the diary which will say action taken. Full stop. Important thing is that we make a collective complaint and four or five people from the RWA's go to hand over the complaint.

Muralidhar Rao

PS: * "Bangalore City Police" website is rather poorly maintained, compared to "Bangalore City Traffic Police" Web-site. As of now, it appears the best way to lodge a complaint with the City Police Commissioner's office appears to be through, accessible here. comment guidelines

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