Bursting of Firecrackers in Diwali? Assam at a Fix
Guwahati: The much awaited decision of the state government for the ensuing Diwali celebration about permission for bursting crackers during Diwali, once again found itself at a crossroad with Supreme Court on Thursday on Thursday dispelled the impression that it was against particular group or community by banning firecrackers and said it cannot allow violation of rights of citizens under the guise of enjoyment.
A bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna made it clear that it wants full implementation of its orders.
At least three days after the Pollution Control Board (PCB) Assam issued a complete ban on firecrackers ahead of Diwali in the state, state chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that PCB’s decision was taken without “any consultation” with the government and it will be reviewed keeping “people’s sentiments in mind”.
Sarma said, “We are reviewing the decision. Covid19 outbreak has cost a lot on the economy of small traders. We have to think if they can earn a little by selling firecrackers. Therefore, the issue is being reviewed afresh, holistically, keeping people’s sentiments in mind.”
The PCB Assam’s order was however issued in the guidelines by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), keeping the Covid-19 situation in mind. In its notice, PCB Assam had ordered a “complete ban” on “bursting and selling” all kinds of firecrackers, in compliance with the directives of NGT in November 2020.
It added that bursting of firecrackers “releases copious amounts of harmful chemicals, which have severe impact on the respiratory health of vulnerable groups” and that such pollutants can “further aggravate health conditions of COVID-19 positive persons”.
However, it had made exception for green crackers — under the guidelines, these can be sold, and burst for two hours during Diwali and Chatth Puja, and 35 minutes during Christmas and New Year’s Eve.