Mumbai: This Diwali was an excellent example of when you don’t have the wherewithal, how a well-intentioned Supreme Court order on bursting ‘green crackers’ in the stipulated two hour window can fly off the tangent like a wayward rocket. So, despite clear apex court guidelines that crackers should be burst only between 8 and 10 pm, the city saw zero compliance.
The worst offenders were the affluent residents of south Mumbai while suburban areas witnessed an average turnout. At the Free Press Journal Marg at Nariman Point, minor children from slums were seen bursting crackers as early as 6 pm and even after 10 pm on road dividers, causing much inconvenience to pedestrians and vehicular movement.
Patrolling was negligible and no beat marshals from Cuffe Parade police station were seen policing the violators. There was much din around residential complexes at Churchgate. Merry makers were seen bursting crackers inside the compound at the Indian Merchants Chamber at Churchgate as early as 7:45 pm. Fireworks were in full swing at Marine Drive, Kemps Corner, Nana Chowk and Forjett Street at Tardeo, despite police presence between 6 pm and 10 pm.
Speaking to the Free Press Journal, Sushil Zaveri (45), a resident of Kalbadevi, said, “For the last three days, miscreants have been bursting crackers near Bhiwandiwala Terrace at midnight.’’ Despite repeated calls and text messages, Abhishek Trimukhe, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 1), refused to comment on the matter. In the suburbs, people indulged themselves with gay abandon, completely oblivious to the SC orders and the curbs clamped on the festivities.
Karan Mane, a Vile Parle resident said, “I did not even know there were such rules put in place. However,it does not matter. Diwali comes just once and nobody is allowed to take it away from us.” In Goregaon’s Oshiwara area, the kids and adults were celebrating the festival of lights completely unaware of the rules. Harsh Nana (32) said, “I will not stop my children from playing with firecrackers as they just say their friends can do so, then why can’t they? It is unfair.”
The Juhu area saw a low turnout, with hardly anybody seen bursting firecrackers. However, as the bursting of firecrackers in the city began as early as 7pm on Tuesday, it continued post 10pm with full swing. In contradiction to what the Mumbai police had boasted, the police patrolling van were hardly seen on streets amd when they were spotted, the incidents were blatantly ignored, with just a warning. When contacted Manjunath Singe, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) and Mumbai Police Spokesperson, he said, “In the coming days, we shall book the persons who have violated the Supreme Court guidelines for bursting crackers.” With green crackers being given the go-by, the streets were soon enveloped in smog. The city was also reeking of the rancid smell of ingredients used in the crackers; however, the merry makers were too caught in the moment to care two hoots.