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India wants to replace car hooters with sweet melodies

India’s busy streets could soon become less noisy. File picture: Punit Paranjpe / AFP.

India’s busy streets could soon become less noisy. File picture: Punit Paranjpe / AFP.

Published Oct 11, 2021

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Mumbai - India has brought us yoga, chess, the concept of zero, the USB key and buttons. Now its transport minister Nitin Gadkari is about to make humanity's next big leap with a law replacing car horns with the sweet sound of the sitar, flute, tabla and violin.

"I am studying this and soon planning to make a law that the horns of all vehicles should be in Indian musical instruments so that it is pleasant to hear," Nitin Gadkari told local media recently.

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The hooters could blast sounds made by the flute, tabla, violin, mouth organ or harmonium, he added.

Gadkari also said he wanted to replace the "irritating" sirens used by ambulances and police vehicles with soothing tunes.

India is home to some of the noisiest cities in the world, as rickshaws, buses, taxis, weaving motorbikes and private cars fight for space on the traffic-clogged roads.

The horn is deemed almost as important as the gas pedal - and more so than wing mirrors - and is used by drivers more to alert other road-users to their presence rather than to rebuke.

India's colourful trucks often have messages painted on their backs aimed at overtaking drivers such as "Horn OK Please" or "Blow Horn".

The World Health Organisation says noise pollution can cause hearing loss, cardiovascular problems, cognitive impairment, stress and depression.

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Surely there can be no more deserved winner of the Nobel Peace Prize if the minister succeeds?

Agence France-Presse

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