Onset of the winter season and rising COVID-19 cases have got states concerned, as they started implementing bans on the use of firecrackers during Diwali and other festivities.
Firecrackers hold risk of increasing air pollution and impacting the health of COVID-19 patients, besides the activity increasing the risk of infection among high-risk individuals such as children and senior citizens, states said.
Here is a look at which states banned firecrackers and what authorities announced:
>> Telangana: Telangana HC on November 12 directed the state government to immediately ban the sale and use of fireworks during the upcoming Diwali festival.
>> Chandigarh: The Union Territory (UT) of Chandigarh, which is also the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, has banned sale and use of firecrackers during the festive period.
>> Delhi: The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), on November 6, issued a “complete ban" on bursting and sale of all kinds of firecrackers from November 7 to November 30 in Delhi’s NCT region. CM Arvind Kejriwal also said firecrackers have been banned in the national capital, adding that medical infrastructure will be ramped up.
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>> Haryana: The state government on November 6 announced "complete ban" on the sale of firecrackers, to check the spread of COVID-19 due to air pollution. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar however modified the order on November 8 to allow firecrackers for two hours on Diwali.
>> Karnataka: Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, in a fresh order issued on November 6, said the Karnataka government would only allow the sale and use of green crackers to ensure the health and safety of persons infected with COVID-19 and those susceptible to suffer from respiratory distress.
He tweeted: “We received several suggestions after we proposed a ban on firecrackers during Diwali 2020 celebrations. People should celebrate in a simple manner considering the safety of their children and themselves. I request people to only burst green crackers.”
>> Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), on November 8, reiterated its ban on bursting of firecrackers – on public and private properties – during Diwali due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The authority was stern in its warning of pursuing action against violators.
An exception has been made for November 14 (Laxmi Pujan), when the use of small firecrackers such as fuljhadi (sparklers) and anar or paus (fountain) has been allowed within private premises such as housing societies.
A civic official told PTI the action has been taken under the Epidemic Diseases Act and is based on similar orders issued by other states.
>> Maharashtra: Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, on November 8, said the state had not imposed a ban on firecrackers, but urged “self-discipline” amid Diwali celebrations.
>> National Capital Region (NCR)/nationwide: A complete ban on the sale and the use of all firecrackers has been imposed in NCR from November 9 midnight till November 30 midnight, as per a National Green Tribunal (NGT) dated November 9.
Notably, the ban is also applicable to “all cities and towns in India where ambient air quality during November 2019 fell under the 'poor',” the bench clarified. Cities/towns with ‘moderate’ or below quality are allowed to burst “green crackers” for two hours during Diwali, Chatt, Christmas and New Year festivities.
>> Odisha: The state, on November 3, ordered a ban on the sale and the use of firecrackers during the upcoming festival season from November 10 to November 30 to check air pollution and spread of COVID-19. Violators will be prosecuted under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and other relevant laws, the government order stated.
>> Rajasthan: Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, on November 2, announced ban on sale and bursting of firecrackers during Diwali “to protect the health of COVID-19 infected patients & public from poisonous smoke emanating due to fireworks.”
>> Sikkim: The state government has issued a “completed ban” on the sale and the use of firecrackers during the upcoming festival season to check air pollution, until further notice.
>> West Bengal: The Calcutta High Court banned the sale and the use of firecrackers in the state during Kali Puja and other upcoming festivals. It also directed safety measures akin to those imposed during Durga Puja such as barring revellers from entering marquees, to be undertaken during Kali Puja ( November 14).
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