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Restaurateurs and DJs fear loudspeaker rule will dampen spirit of fun-loving town

The recent ban on the use of loudspeakers in public places has dealt a blow to the city’s cosmopolitan culture, such as the migrant population which has so far included night owls, businessmen say. These developments will affect the city’s vibrant nightlife and culture, people BM spoke to said. The Bengaluru brand will take a hit if this kind of enforcement continues, as the city is known for its pub culture, music-loving crowds, some restaurateurs and DJs said.

They worry about recent noise pollution regulations as businesses have yet to recover from the hit they received during the pandemic. The state government had last Tuesday banned the use of loudspeakers between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. amid a raging debate over the use of loudspeakers. A government issued a notification that a loudspeaker or public address system could only be used after obtaining a license from the authorities if used periodically and written permission if used for a period of time .

The city’s nightlife has taken a hit with complaints from Resident welfare associations (RWA) objecting to high decibel sounds from pubs and resto-bars located close to residential areas of the city – e.g. Indira Nagar and Koramangala. the central business district (CBD) has the highest number of pubs and resto-bars, but as it is a shopping center there are not many complaints from anyone about noise pollution, said Shailu alias Shailendara DJ.

Many pubs and resto-bars, both in the CBD area and in other parts of the city that have loud, live music on their rooftop and garden – the outdoors have moved indoors shortly after they opened after the pandemic, Shailu added.

Sources from the pub and resto-bar industry and the live music scene told Bangalore Mirror that there was not much loud music being played after 10pm. “A Sunburn Concert would play their last track at 9:50 p.m. and call it a wrap,” said a DJ who wished to remain anonymous. “When we played the other day for Christmas at a well-known restaurant, it was an outdoor event, so we had to finish around 10:15 p.m. even though the crowd was asking us to keep playing,” added the DJ.

The police monitor all the pubs and resto-bars in the city and check the decibels of what is playing inside. “Usually the music played inside wouldn’t come out because the area would be soundproofed and outside the cops could only measure what is heard through the traffic chaos,” he added.

A few pub and resto-bar owners have claimed that there are selected pubs and clubs in the city which have ‘special privileges’ with the blessing of law enforcement and politicians. “These pubs and resto-bars would be live with loud music on the terraces of multi-storey buildings on Saint Mark‘s Road and Residency Road and there are no complaints and no one is questioning them,” said a restaurateur who wished to remain anonymous. “The business scene in pubs has changed drastically in these pandemic times, several of them have closed, and on top of that – with this tightening of decibel regulations, it would only make things worse for industry people. Police now have another reason to penalize or extort pub and resto-bar owners,” he added.

strict rule

However, the city police commissioner Kamal Pants told this newspaper that the speakers cannot be used overnight anywhere – even on rooftops, terraces or outdoors without permission. “The order is specific that loudspeakers during the night defined as 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. are not permitted. If an authorization or license is requested, it is the responsibility of the licensing authority, in this case the district Deputy Commissioner of Police (ACP), to inspect the instruments and ensure the noise level at the boundary of the public place where a loudspeaker or public address system used must not exceed 10 dB (A) above ambient noise standards or 75 dB (A) whichever is lower” , said Kamal Pant.

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