Ruling AAP, BJP spar over firecracker ban
Reacting to the development, the BJP accused the AAP of “hurting the sentiments of Hindus” and demanded that people be allowed to at least use green crackers.
NEW DELHI: The Delhi government has decided to reimpose the ban on the manufacturing, sale, storage and use of all kinds of firecrackers in the capital as part of an action plan to reduce air pollution levels in winter. There will also be a ban on online sale or delivery of firecrackers in the national capital. Reacting to the development, the BJP accused the AAP of “hurting the sentiments of Hindus” and demanded that people be allowed to at least use green crackers.
The ban on firecrackers in Delhi will impact the Sivakasi fireworks business to the tune of 15-20 per cent this year. Addressing a press conference, Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Monday said that strict directions will be issued to the Delhi Police to implement the ban in the city.
“Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has decided to ban firecrackers on the occasion of Diwali to control pollution. The manufacturing, storage, sale, online delivery, and bursting of any type of firecrackers are completely prohibited in Delhi. The police in Delhi-NCR have been instructed to issue a circular on behalf of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), stating that no licenses will be granted. Celebrating festivals is important, but it is equally important to care for the environment. That’s why we have made this decision in Delhi for the last two years, and the people of Delhi are supportive,” Rai said.
Diwali will be celebrated on November 13 this year. Typically, during winter, in addition to vehicular emissions and industrial emissions, there are additional factors contributing to air pollution, including dust storms, stubble burning (crop fires), burning of solid fuels for heating, along the use of firecrackers during Diwali. To curb air pollution to some extent, the Delhi government has maintained a ban on all types of firecrackers for the past three years.
“This year, there is a fall in pollution levels in Delhi. PM10 levels have fallen compared to figures from 2014. There is a similar fall in PM2.5 levels as well. But considering the parameters of health, this situation is still not favourable. Therefore, we have decided to ban firecrackers this year too,” Rai added.
Last year, the government announced that bursting firecrackers on Diwali in the city would attract a jail term of up to six months and a fine of Rs 200. It had said production, storage and sale of firecrackers in Delhi would be punishable with a fine of up to Rs 5,000 and three years in jail under Section 9B of the Explosives Act.