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The Bombay High Court has refused to grant relief to two firecracker dealers seeking temporary licences to set up their shops in residential areas. The traders from Nashik had sought temporary licences to set up their shops ahead of Diwali, as their permanent licences had not been renewed by the authorities concerned. Pulling up the applicants for approaching the court at the last hour, a Bench led by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur rejected their plea. The Bench referred to an order by the high court last year, when another Bench of the court had directed civic bodies in the state to inspect and re-verify licences issued in every ward for selling firecrackers ahead of Diwali, and to ensure that safety measures were in put in place to avoid accidents. The Chief Justice was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Chandrakant Lasure, highlighting the issue of illegal firecracker shops set up in residential areas during Diwali.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam on Tuesday said he would request Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to ban the sale of firecrackers in the state, on the lines of the Supreme Court’s verdict. The Supreme Court had on Monday said that its order of last November banning the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-National Capital Region would continue till October 31, in an effort to check pollution during the festival of lights. Diwali falls on October 19. “Yesterday (Monday) , the Supreme Court gave its decision that there should not be firecracker shops in residential areas. Keeping peoples’ health in mind, and there should be no pollution and for this, everybody should take care,” Kadam told reporters here. "I will request the chief minister and see if something similar could be done here as firecrackers cause pollution, human beings and animals get affected and even shops at times catch fire." Senior Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, however, said the livelihood of scores of Marathi youth depended on the firecracker business and demanded the government refrain from imposing any ban. "What great work are you doing by snatching the livelihood when you cannot give them employment? Firecrackers are burst in 199 countries around the world," he claimed. In a related development, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh on Tuesday invited Delhiites to come down to the state to celebrate Diwali, after the Supreme Court banned sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR. "If the people of Delhi contact us over phone or through letters, we will make arrangements for them to celebrate (burst crackers) our important festival Diwali in Bhopal," he told reporters here. Asked about the growing concern over noise pollution in the country and his invitation to Delhiites to burst crackers in the state, the BJP leader said the environment of Madhya Pradesh, under the leadership of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, was very good and described the state as an island of peace, where the safety and security aspects were "superb". Bursting crackers one day would not damage the state's environment, he added.