As the COVID-19 cases are increasing day by day in India, the air pollution has become an issue of concerns for the states. Thus, to curb the air pollution ahead of Diwali, several states including Rajasthan and Delhi have banned firecrackers.
While some states have imposed a total ban, others have imposed a ban only on “imported” firecrackers. The decision has been taken in a bid to protect vulnerable people from the increase of air pollution amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Here’s a list of the states which have banned firecrackers, in one form or another, this Diwali season:
The Delhi government has banned firecrackers in the national capital in view of the increasing cases of COVID-19, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Twitter. "Reviewed corona situation in Delhi and preparedness with the chief secretary, health officials and all DMs (district magistrates). Corona cases have increased due to festival season n pollution. It was decided to...ban crackers in Delhi...," Kejriwal said.
The Rajasthan government on November 2 decided to impose a fine of Rs 10,000 on a shopkeeper if he/she is found selling any kind of firecrackers. The Ashok Gehlot-led administration has also announced that if a person is found using or allowing any kind of fireworks will have to pay a penalty of Rs 2,000.
The Odisha government on November 3 banned the sale and use of firecrackers across the state during the festive season to check air pollution which can aggravate health conditions of COVID-19 patients.
The period of the ban is from November 10 to 30, according to a government order.
The people of the state burst firecrackers on the occasion of Deepavali and Kartik Purnima, which fell on November 14 and 30 respectively this year.
Chief Secretary A K Tripathy issued a direction to prohibit sale and use of firecrackers in all parts of the state from November 10 to 30.
The Sikkim government on November 3 imposed a complete ban on the use of firecrackers throughout the state in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
Chief Secretary S C Gupta issued an order under provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, to impose a complete ban on bursting of firecrackers in the state till further orders
5. West Bengal
The Calcutta High Court on November 5 banned the use and sale of firecrackers in Kali Puja and Diwali, keeping in mind the Covid-19 pandemic situation in West Bengal.
Earlier, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Calcutta High Court with regard to banning firecrackers during Kali Puja and Diwali in the state. The matter was heard before the division bench of justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee on Thursday.
The court also directed that the ban will also be in force during Jagaddhatri Puja, Chhath and Kartik Puja.
People should avoid bursting firecrackers during this Diwali as air pollution could pose a problem for coronavirus patients, the Maharashtra government said on November 5.
The state home department came out with guidelines ahead of the festival of lights, which will be celebrated under the shadow of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation on Thursday announced that it will ban bursting or lighting of all fire-crackers at public places during the upcoming Diwali festival.
Official sources said even the Maharashtra government is likely to impose similar prohibitions on firecrackers in public considering the grim Covid-19 scenario in many parts of the state and apprehensions of a second wave of the infection that may hit in winter.
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Friday said the state government will be issuing an order banning the use of firecrackers during Deepavali, due to prevailing COVID-19 pandemic situation.
"We have discussed it (cracker ban), we are taking a decision to ban the use of firecrackers during Deepavali..the government will soon be issuing an order to this effect," Yediyurappa said.
Meanwhile, the National Green Tribunal on Thursday reserved, till November 9, its order on the imposition of ban on firecrackers across 23 states and UTs amidst the double whammy of the pollution crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier this week, the NGT had sought response of the Union Environment Ministry, the governments of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan, the Central Pollution Control Board, the Delhi Police Commissioner and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee on whether the use of firecrackers should be banned from November 7 to 30.
On Wednesday, the tribunal expanded its ambit of hearing cases on pollution by use of firecrackers beyond the Delhi-NCR region and issued notices to 19 states and Union Territories where air quality is beyond norms.
(With inputs from agencies)