New Delhi: Ahead of Diwali, states and Union Territories (UTs) across the country have issued new guidelines restricting bursting of firecrackers as directed by the Supreme Court (SC). The top court has banned bursting of firecrackers claiming it causes pollution. However, the apex court recently clarified that there is no blanket ban and only those crackers containing Barium salts are prohibited.
“It is made clear that there is no total ban on use of firecrackers. Only those firecrackers are banned which are found to be injurious to health and affecting the health of the citizens, more particularly the senior citizens and the children,” the SC said.
The court said if states and UTs fail to implement its order, it will be viewed seriously. The top court further directed the states to use electronic, print media and local cable services to alert citizens on its directions on manufacture, use and sale of banned firecrackers.
Following this, many states and UTs have issued fresh guidelines banning firecrackers. Here’s the list:
On October 22, Assam’s Pollution Control Board (PCB) issued a notification imposing a complete ban on bursting and sale of all kinds of firecrackers, except green crackers. Notably, green crackers can be burst only for two hours during Diwali from 8 pm to 10 pm and from 6 am to 8 am during Chhath puja, as per the notification. For Christmas and New Year Eve, the timing was fixed from 11.55 pm to 12.30 am. However, soon after the notification was out, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the order was issued without any consultation with the state government and a new decision on the sale and use of firecrackers will be taken.
The Delhi government has put a complete ban on sale and use of firecrackers ahead of Diwali. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) on September 28 had ordered a complete ban on the sale and bursting of firecrackers in the city till January 1, 2022.
Additionally, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Wednesday launched the “Patake Nahi, Diya Jalao” campaign by lighting diyas (lamps) at his residence and appealed to people not to buy firecrackers this festival. “The pollution levels in Delhi are very high around Diwali due to stubble burning in neighbouring states. The use of crackers during the Diwali season becomes very fatal. Especially when it comes to the elderly and the children, it can be very dangerous,” he said.
The Chhattisgarh government earlier this week issued guidelines allowing bursting of firecrackers during Diwali and Guruparva from 8 pm to 10 pm; from 6 am to 8 am on Chhath Puja, and from 11.55 pm to 12.30 am on New Year and Christmas. However, the sale of firecrackers which produce high-decibel sounds in violation of prescribed limits will not be allowed. The manufacturer will lose the license if firecrackers are found to contain toxic elements like lithium, arsenic, antimony, lead and mercury. Online sale of crackers has also been banned.
Chandigarh too has imposed a complete ban on the sale or use of firecrackers of any kind to prevent the risk of spread of Covid due to polluted atmosphere. In an order released earlier this month, the administration said: “It has been decided that the toxic air rising out of the crackers is likely to affect health, therefore residents must avoid bursting crackers this festive season.” “The decision has been taken keeping in view the ongoing Covid situation, order of National Green Tribunal and Disaster Management Act,” it added.
The Karnataka government on Saturday issued an order allowing the sale and bursting of only green crackers during Diwali. “Other than green crackers that have been permitted by the Supreme Court in its directions, no other crackers can be sold or burst,” an order signed by the Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar said. As per the order, sellers who have taken necessary permits from concerned departments and authorities can only sell green crackers. Stalls selling green crackers can be opened only between November 1 to 10. Green cracker stalls can be temporarily opened only at place and on dates mentioned in the permit. The stalls should be opened away from residential areas and in open grounds, apart from ensuring adequate ventilation a distance of 6 metres should be maintained between two cracker stalls.
Like others, the Punjab government too has banned manufacturing, stocking, distribution, sale and use of firecrackers across the state and said that only green crackers would be allowed during the upcoming festival season. In an order issued on Tuesday, the government said that only the green crackers (those crackers that do not use barium salts or compounds of antimony, lithium, mercury arsenic, lead or strontium, chromate) would be allowed for sale and use in Punjab.
“Sale and use of any kind of firecrackers is prohibited in the cities of Mandi Gobindgarh and Jalandhar from midnight of 28-29 October to the midnight of 31 December of 2021-01 January of 2022 in terms as the average air quality index for the month of November 2020 of Mandi Gobindgarh and Jalandhar has remained in poor category,” the order said.
The Haryana government on Sunday imposed a total ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in 14 districts that come under the National Capital Region (NCR). “There will be a total ban on sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers in Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, Faridabad, Gurugram, Jhajjar, Jind, Karnal, Mahendergarh, Nuh, Palwal, Panipat, Rewari, Rohtak and Sonipat,” a government order said. The directive will also apply to all cities and towns in the state where the average ambient air quality for November (as per last year’s data) comes under “poor” and above categories.
The state has, however, allowed green crackers in cities and towns where the air quality is in the “moderate” or below category. The bursting of crackers during Diwali and other festivals such as Gurupurab will be allowed only from 8 pm to 10 pm. For Chatt festival, the same will be allowed from 6 am to 8 am. Fireworks will be permitted from 11.55 pm on December 24 to 12.30 am on December 25 and from 11.55 pm on December 31 to 12.30 am on January 1, for Christmas and New Year
The Rajasthan government on September 30 had issued a notification banning the sale and use of firecrackers from October 1, 2021 to January 31, 2022. However, it has now allowed the use and sale of green crackers in the state, except in areas that come under the National Capital Region (NCR). The use of green crackers will be allowed on Diwali, Gurupurab and other festivals (from 8 pm to 10 pm), during Chhath (from 6 am to 8 am) and on Christmas and New Year (from 11.55 pm to 12.30 am). The ban, however, will remain in force in cities with poor air quality. The air quality index can be checked on the pollution control board’s web portal.
The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday said the directives of the apex court vis-a-vis firecrackers would be fully implemented. In compliance with such directives, the state government has banned manufacture of firecrackers with Barium salt content and also the ‘Saravedi’ kind of firecracker (wherein single units are clubbed together to make it a string). Also, storage, transportation and sale of such products are prohibited.
The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) has banned sale and use of all kinds of fireworks during Kali Puja, Diwali and other festivals. The board had earlier allowed sale and bursting of green fireworks. WBPCB Chairman Kalyan Rudra on Saturday said that the board was holding meetings with police and administration to fine-tune strategies to stop supply of fireworks into the market and ensure that there is no bursting of firecrackers during the festivals.
This came just a day the Calcutta High Court banned the sale, purchase and use of all firecrackers during Kali Puja, Diwali, Chhath Puja, Jagadhatri Puja, Guru Nanak’s birthday, Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations to check air pollution amid Covid. The court said the expression “firecrackers” will cover all types of sparklers as well as other similar materials, whether or not their bursting or burning involves any sound or light generation.
Odisha’s Special Relief Commissioner’s on September 30 had prohibited sale and use of firecrackers during the festive season between October 1 and November 1 to protect the health of the general public and curb the spread of Covid infection. However, the Orissa High Court on Friday asked the state government to make a decision by November 1 on the sale and use of green crackers during Diwali after holding discussions with fireworks sellers. The state is yet yet to come up with new notification.
Puducherry has allowed the sale of firecrackers at low prices ahead of Diwali. Here, Papsco, a government agency, has set up shops across the UT to sell the firecrackers at subsidised rates. Papsco is providing firecrackers at a 75% subsidy to the general public. Muthukrishnan, Papsco Director, told ANI, “The government has decided to avail firecrackers at 70 per cent subsidy for the general public. Almost after two years, the government has allowed the sale of firecrackers in the Union Territory. We have also set up free vaccination camps at government hospitals.”