Days after the Manohar Lal Khattar-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Haryana imposed a complete ban on firecrackers, the chief minister on Sunday said that people would be allowed to burst crackers for two hours on Diwali. Khattar's debilitating stance is being deemed as a hint that the government might modify its earlier stance in the face of questions about economic losses to traders.
Although chief minister Khattar mentioned that people would be permitted to burst firecrackers in Diwali for two hours, he did not specify any dedicated timeframe to do so. Whether traders would be allowed to sell firecrackers in view of this relaxation has not been specified either.
A report by NDTV quotes the chief minister as such:
"We have noticed that coronavirus cases have been increasing since the time air pollution started rising. Haryana's daily Covid case count had come down to 1,000. This has now increased to 2,011 cases today. So, we took a decision to safeguard people's health. However, for those who want to burst crackers, we will allow for two hours."
The decision to ban the sale and bursting of firecrackers this year was taken to prevent the risk of spread of Covid-19 due to polluted atmosphere created by bursting of crackers, as recommended by the National Green Tribunal (NGT)'s directive.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had on Friday told the media that after a detailed discussion, it was decided to completely ban the sale of crackers in the state.