Delhi might celebrate a relatively cracker-free -- and pollution-free -- Diwali this time around, with the Supreme Court banning the sale and stocking of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR until November 1. Traders and shopkeepers have decried the order, while activists and residents in other metros have called for a similar ban.
The apex court will on Friday hear the plea by a group of traders seeking modifications to its October 9 order. The court had on October 9 imposed a blanket ban on the sale of firecrackers in the Delhi-NCR in the run-up of Diwali to check the alarming pollution level.
Further, while the order applies to the whole NCR region, Gurgaon's administration has given some relaxation to those who had already bought firecrackers in advance.
On the other hand, according to a Hindustan Times
report, the Delhi government has said that the state's environment and forest department will be deploying teams to monitor any sale of firecrackers in the city's markets despite the apex court's order.
Here are the top 5 developments
The Supreme Court will on Friday hear traders' plea, seeking modification of the October 9 order banning the sale of firecrackers in the Delhi-National
Capital Region (NCR) till November 1. (Read more here
A three-judge Bench of the apex court had on Monday restored its November 2016 order, banning the sale of crackers in NCR, and suspended its September 2017 order, which allowed limited sale but banned imports from other states.
Following the order, the traders mentioned the matter before the court for an urgent hearing. They said their licences were revived in pursuance of the apex court's September order and that they had procured firecrackers for the sale during Diwali.
The Gurgaon administration has allowed residents to burn crackers between 6 pm to 10 pm on Diwali. (Read more here
Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh
said the relaxation has been given to those who have bought crackers in advance. "We have framed certain guidelines for those who have already purchased crackers. They can burn them from 6 pm to 10 pm on October 19," he said.
The administration has also imposed IPC section 144 (unlawful assembly) in the city, and asked the residents to burn the crackers 100 metres away from private and government hospitals, educational institutions, religious places, and courts. "We have imposed a ban on those crackers that make a noise of more than 145 decibels. We have also directed the people not to use firecrackers within the radius of 500 metres from Indane bottling plant situated in Badshahpur and 100 metres away from fuel stations," Singh said.
According to news agency PTI, Mumbaikars have welcomed the apex court's ban in Delhi-NCR, with some activists suggesting a calibrated approach towards Diwali celebrations in the metropolis. (Read more here
They advised that a complete ban on the "private use" of firecrackers should be enforced but restricted use by experts for certain celebrations should be allowed. "During the private use of firecrackers, there is no control on whether they are handled by adults or children. Such an exposure to chemicals is very dangerous. It will be good if a similar decision of banning firecrackers in private places is implemented in Mumbai region," Sumaira Abdulali, the anti-noise pollution activist and founder of Awaaz Foundation, said.
Days after Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh invited Delhiites to celebrate "Diwali with crackers" in the state, the state government on Thursday banned the manufacturing, sale, and use of crackers that generate high-decibel sound with immediate effect. (Read more here
"In view of notification issued by the Union Ministry for Environment and Forest, the manufacturing, sale or use of crackers which generate noise levels exceeding 125 dB(AI) or 145 dB(C) will be banned," state environment minister Antar Singh Arya said in a statement. Following the Supreme Court's instructions, the Madhya Pradesh government has also prohibited the use of all noise-emitting crackers from 10 pm to 6 am, he added.
The Chhattisgarh Government has also imposed a ban on the use of firecrackers with high decibels during the festival. A restriction has been imposed on the sale of firecrackers that produce noise above 125 dB (AI) or 145 dB for four metres in the entire state. According to the Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board's circular, bursting of firecrackers will be prohibited between 10 pm to 6 am and in the range of 100 metres of sensitive areas like hospitals, educational institutes, courts, and religious premises, etc. (Read more here
The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) will enforce the existing ban on the sale and use of firecrackers that generate sound over 90 decibels and not opt for a blanket ban as is the case in Delhi. (Read more here
WBPCB chairman Kalyan Rudra said the board was working in tandem with law enforcing agencies in the state to prevent illegal firecrackers from entering the market. "Without any new court direction on the issue, the WBPCB will have to go by the existing order of checking the sale and bursting of crackers that produce sound over 90 decibels. Our teams are on the vigil," Rudra told PTI.
The WBPCB ban on bursting of firecrackers across all silence zones and during the daytime -- 10 am to 6 pm -- would also continue to be in force across the state, Rudra said.