The Delhi government on Tuesday strengthened its drive against imported firecrackers ahead of Diwali, ordering the inspection teams, formed in this regard, to check markets and godowns more frequently.
In a review meeting attended by senior officials of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), police, SDMs and deputy commissioners among others,environment minister Imran Hussain directed that strict action be taken against those found violating the norms.
“The 11 district-wise inspecting teams of area SDMs and DPCC executive engineers, constituted to check the availability of imported firecrackers in the market, should enhance their field inspections.
“The team(s) of officers from licensing unit constituted to check godowns randomly for availability of imported firecrackers in the market should augment their vigilance and field visits,” an official statement said.
Hussain also ordered that court orders regarding noise pollution and prevention, especially relating to complete ban on bursting of sound-emitting firecrackers between 10pm to 6am, must be enforced. Delhi police have been asked to make announcements through police control room vans for not bursting crackers after 10pm.
“Arrangements made for monitoring of ambient air and noise levels by DPCC before and during Diwali nights should be popularised,” it said.
Mass publicity campaign will be done through advertisements in leading newspapers and jingles to be aired on FM radio. An action plan to create public awareness with active participation of RWAs, eco-club students, etc, is also being created.
Hussain had held a similar review meeting on October 13.
The government had earlier written to the customs department to prohibit import of harmful Chinese crackers and had asked the Delhi police to ensure that action is taken against any violation of the law.
Meanwhile, the Delhi high court on Tuesday sought the government’s response on a petition alleging lack of uniformity in the grant of temporary licences for sale of firecrackers from shops and tin sheds during Diwali.
A bench of chief justice G Rohini and justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal refused to pass an interim order on the petition challenging a provision in the Explosive Rules, 2008, that says tin sheds selling firecrackers cannot be set up within a 50m radius of any ‘protected work’, including markets, houses and schools.
The petitioner, who wants permission to sell firecrackers from a temporary shed at INA Market, has contended that the ‘50m requirement’ should be applicable to the shops within the marketplace also.
It said that the purpose of the rule was to ensure accessibility to temporary stalls in case of a fire and also to protect the surrounding area in such a situation.
The plea says that in the past 10-15 years they have been granted the temporary licences as well as no objection certificates from the fire department. However, this year, it has not yet been granted any licence to sell crackers during Diwali.
The court will hear the matter on December 21.