Palaniswami urges Odisha, Rajasthan to revoke firecracker ban

Chennai: Concerned that the ban on crackers by Rajasthan and Odisha will further strain the Covid-battered fireworks industry in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister EK Palaniswami on Thursday wrote to his counterparts in the two states urging them to reconsider their decision.

Palaniswami informed Ashok Gehlot and Naveen Patnaik of Odisha that lifting the ban would help protect the livelihood of workers who are directly and indirectly dependent on Tamil Nadu’s cracker industry, considered the fireworks capital of the world.

“I would like to bring to your kind notice that Tamil Nadu produces mainly green crackers and therefore the question of environmental pollution does not arise. There is no empirical or validated data to demonstrate that the bursting of crackers has an effect on COVID patients. I, therefore, request you to reconsider your government’s decision to ban the sale and bursting of crackers in your State for this Deepavali season,” he said in the letters.

The Tamil Nadu CM said his state is a cracker manufacturing hub which used raw materials with “reduced emission level and low decibel”. The state accounts for 90% of the fireworks in India.

Palaniswami said the livelihood of these workers depended on the sale of crackers during the festive occasion. “The ban on bursting crackers in your State can have a direct bearing on the livelihood of over 8 lakh workers in the State of Tamil Nadu and another equal number of people engaged in its sale,” he said adding that even the Supreme Court had permitted bursting of crackers for one hour each in the morning and evening during Diwali.

No bomb, only Lakshmi: Kejriwal

New Delhi: Warning that pollution and the Covid pandemic could further "worsen" the air in the national capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday appealed to people to shun firecrackers for the safety of their kids and families.

Kejriwal said he will be performing Lakshmi Puja at 7.39 p.m. on November 14, along with other Delhi Cabinet ministers, which will be live-streamed. He urged the public to perform Lakshmi Puja at their homes.

Meanwhile, Delhi's air quality dropped to its worst level since December last year, with farm fires accounting for 42% of its pollution, the maximum in this season so far, said data from central agencies.

Top officials to depose before Parl panel

Top officials of the Union environment and health ministries and the governments of Delhi, Haryana and Punjab are set to depose before a parliamentary panel on Friday to find a "permanent solution" to air pollution in the national capital and adjoining areas.

Officials of the Central Pollution Control Board and the state governments of NCT of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab will also depose before the panel on the ongoing situation of air pollution in the national capital and its adjoining areas.

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