Ahead of Diwali, several states across India have enforced a ban on the use and sale of firecrackers, in various degrees, to curb air pollution in view of the rising coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country, most notably in national capital Delhi.
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 National Green Tribunal on Monday ordered imposition of a total ban on sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in the national capital region or any other city or town across the country where the average ambient air quality from November 9-10 to the midnight of November 30-December 1 falls under the `poor` and above category.
A bench of NGT Chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel passed the order on a batch of petition seeking remedial action against the use and sale of firecrackers amid the double whammy of pollution crisis and rising coronavirus infections.
The green tribunal emphasised that citizens were entitled to breathe fresh air, a right cannot be defeated on the ground that enforcement of such right will lead to the closing of such business activity.
Two days after announcing a "complete ban" on the sale of firecrackers, the Haryana government on Sunday allowed bursting them for two hours on Diwali.
This decision has been taken in view of the rising levels of pollution while adhering to the guidelines issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to decrease air pollution, according to a government release.
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.
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 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 sale and bursting of 'green crackers', as per Supreme Court guidelines, will be allowed during Deepavali, the Karnataka government said on Saturday,as it stressed on restrictions to contain the coronavirus infection.
Hours after indicating that the state would ban fireworks due to the pandemic,Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had appealed to the people yesterday to celebrate the festival in a simple way by using only green crackers.
In view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, chief secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar said more stringent measures are needed to be initiated to check the spread of the disease.
Only green crackers will be sold from Saturday to November 16 in an open space where social distancing can be maintained.
Ahead of the Diwali festival, the Chandigarh administration on November 6 banned the sale and use of crackers of all types with immediate effect and said that any violation will result in legal action.
"In exercise of the powers conferred on the undersigned as Chairperson of the Disaster Executive Committee of State Disaster Management Authority. I hereby order, a complete ban on sale or use of crackers of any kind, throughout the Union Territory of Chandigarh," the order by the UT adminstration reads.
"These directions are issued as a containment measure to prevent the risk of spread of covid-19, due to the polluted atmosphere created by bursting of crackers," the order states.
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.
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
(With agency inputs)