The Calcutta High Court on October 29 slapped a blanket ban on the sale and use of firecrackers this Diwali. The prohibition also covers the Kali Puja, Chhath Puja, Christmas and the New Year, news agency ANI reported.
The court order comes in the wake of an uptick in the daily count of fresh COVID infection in West Bengal since the Durga Puja celebrations earlier this month.
A Division Bench of Justices Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya and Aniruddha Roy has directed police to confiscate crackers and take legal action against persons caught violating the firecracker ban, reported Live Mint.
The Calcutta HC passed the order based on a petition seeking the reimposition of the firecracker ban that was in place in 2020 in view of COVID-19.
Earlier, the Mamata Banerjee-led Bengal government had allowed the use of green firecrackers for a certain period of time on festivities. Friday’s directive, however, nullified the West Bengal Pollution Control Board’s October 26 order that allowed bursting firecrackers for two hours between 8pm and 10pm on Diwali, 6am to 8am on Chhat Puja, and for 35 minutes on New Year’s Eve.
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The high court observed that the police lacked adequate infrastructure to differentiate regular firecrackers from their green peers. Hence, there is a need to ban the use of all kinds of firecrackers. Only lighting oil or wax-based diyas (lamps) will be allowed this Diwali and Kali Puja.
Additionally, the Calcutta High Court has also banned Kali Puja idol immersion processions with sound and light this year, Zee News reported.
“Sanitisers and masks are mandatory during the festive season of Kali Puja and Diwali. Social distancing norms to be adhered to. No processions with sound and light will be allowed for Kali idol immersion. Only a limited number of people will be allowed at ghats for immersion,” the court said.