Mumbai: Even though the Maharashtra Government was unable to impose a ban on the sale of fireworks during Diwali, it has issued strict guidelines on Friday prohibiting the sale, distribution, storage and possession of imported firecrackers. The Home Department has asked the director general of police (DGP), commissioners of police, superintendents of police (SPs), district collectors and municipal commissioners to be vigilant on the sale of contraband imported firecrackers, as also those procured illegally in local markets, especially by e-commerce companies and local sellers and punish such offenders by taking punitive action as per the provisions of Indian Trade Classification (Harmonized System) Code and other laws.
Home Department desk officer Prashant Holkar, in a three-page notification said that it had been found that despite a ban imposed by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), imported firecrackers were in circulation. “Firecrackers cannot be imported without obtaining a licence or authorisation from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade. In recent years, no licence or authority has been issued by the directorate-general for the import of firecrackers,’’ the notification said.
In view of such illegal imports and their possession, last month, the ministry of commerce and industry had instructed all states to keep a close vigil and take punitive action against such illegal import, sale, distribution and possession of imported firecrackers. Therefore, the department has asked the DGP, police commissioners, SPs, district collectors and municipal commissioners to step up vigil and conduct periodic drives.
The state government’s move comes five days after the Haryana government declared the possession and sale of imported firecrackers illegal and punishable in the state. “Deputy commissioners of all the districts have been directed to be vigilant in this regard and take strict action against the sale and distribution of imported firecrackers. Additionally, they have also been asked to ensure there is no storage of imported firecrackers by conducting inspections of all these establishments and taking preventive action,’’ said a senior official from the state home department.
He further said that the DGP, police commissioners, SPs, district collectors and municipal commissioners have been asked to exchange inputs through video conferencing and address press conferences. They have also been directed to conduct awareness campaigns against the illegal possession and bursting of imported firecrackers.
Further, the government has also urged citizens to complain to local police if they come across people involved in the possession and sale of imported crackers.