SC takes shine off Diwali

| | NEW DELHI
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SC takes shine off Diwali

Wednesday, 07 November 2018 | ABHINAV SINGH | NEW DELHI

SC takes shine off Diwali

Delhiites feel dejected as fire crackers out of market’

With the Supreme Court putting a restriction on the bursting of firecrackers and authorities cracking the whip on their illegal sale in the national Capital in the wake of deteriorating air quality, the festival of Diwali loses its charm with Delhiites feeling dejected as they are unable to lay their hands on firecrackers which they claim have gone out of market.

The Pioneer spoke to many people across the Capital and most of them said they want to burst firecrackers as part of festivities but there are hardly any shops in their areas from where they can purchase them. They said they are even finding it hard to buy “green crackers” being promoted by authorities this festive season.

The Delhi Police organised street plays, radio announcements and visited  educational institutions, to drive home the point and convince people to use “green crackers.”  The action comes in the backdrop of the recent SC ruling that only low-emission firecrackers be burnt in the Delhi-NCR between 8 pm and 10 pm on Diwali and other festivals.

Delhiites, like Janakpuri A block resident Sudhanshu, have welcomed the move, but their question is: From where to buy them? “I haven’t seen any green cracker shop in the market so far. We roamed around today just in search of green or simple crackers but so far there is no availability,” said Sudhanshu.

Afraid that defying the SC’s order may land them in trouble, many residents are banking on last year’s stock of firecrackers which they plan to burst this year around at the permitted period ordered by the apex court. “Usually Diwali  celebration starts a week earlier but this has not happened this year as we don’t have firecrackers,” said Anand, a resident of Kalkaji.

“I want to burst “sutli bomb” but papa said if I do police uncle will catch hold of me. I saw police uncle in the locality and I am scared,” said 5-year-old Pintu Chauhan from Dhaka Village, Kingsway Camp, north Delhi.

On Tuesday, the Delhi police arrested five people and seized over 100 kg of illegal firecrackers from their possession in Dwarka, officials said. The accused were arrested for storing the crackers without licence. The Dwarka police have registered five cases following the Supreme Court order on sale of old firecrackers.

Megha, 40, said, “Every year my husband used to buy crackers worth Rs 10,000 for four of our children but this year we cannot spend on crackers as they are hardly available in the market. My 12-year-old son Gautam is insisting on bursting “hydrogen bomb” and big size rockets but we can hardly help him,” said Megha, a resident of Dilshad Garden.

Chhatarpur resident Ramdhir Shukla said, “I used to spend Rs 55,000 each year on Diwali out of which Rs 30,000 was spent on buying crackers for my 25-year-old differently-abled son Sonu as he gets excited by bursting fire-crackers. But this year I cannot buy him crackers because there are none available in the market.”

Mayur Vihar resident DS Chaudhry, 60, said, “We are ashamed to say that we are celebrating Diwali without firecrackers.”

Sarita Vihar resident Rohit said, “I got married only last year and when we went with the “baraat” to Muradabad from Delhi our in-laws burst firecrackers and spent lakhs on them. Then I had promised my wife that I will burst more than that in Delhi during Diwali but the ban has ruined my plan.”

Meanewhile, the Delhi Environment Minister appealed to people on Tuesday to celebrate cracker-free Diwali to reduce pollution.

The appeal by Imran Hussain comes amid a deterioration in air quality which has worsened to alarming levels in the past three weeks. The overall air quality index on Tuesday was recorded at 320 which falls in the “very poor” category. On Monday, the worst air quality of season was observed, according to data by the Central Pollution Control Board. “I appeal to everybody concerned to help in reducing the local sources, which contribute to air pollution. Celebration of cracker-free Diwali is one such step, and I hope the residents of Delhi will  contribute,” he said.

With fear of air quality expected to deteriorate further to “severe” level, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) held a meeting with the authorities and advised them to ban the entry of truck traffic (except essential commodities) from November 8 to 10, Prashant Gargava, member secretary of the statutory organisation under the Environment Ministry said.

The recommendation was made in view of the heavy pollution caused by such vehicles. It might add to the woes of the national capital which is already battling alarming levels of pollution, another CPCB official said.

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