The state government announced its plan to crack down on people bursting firecrackers with noise levels above permissible limits barely hours before the biggest celebratory day during Diwali — Lakshmi puja.
The state is implementing noise rules according to the Supreme Court guidelines, which forbids people from bursting single firecrackers that produce more than 125 decibels (dB) of sound and series firecrackers that make more than 105 dB. So, if the police catch you bursting one of these noisy crackers, you may have to cough up a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh or cool your heels in prison for up to five years.
How does the state expect people to know which crackers are permissible considering that so far no information has been passed on? “Yes, we do admit it’s a little too late to release the forbidden crackers list. We will start early next year, in January itself, by talking to all the 17 firecracker manufacturers in the state,” said environment secretary Valsa Nair Singh.
The police will implement the plan by patrolling localities with sound meters and catching people who are bursting crackers that exceed the prescribed noise limits.
“It is too late. There should have been a pre-planned campaign to educate people on this issue,” said Sumaira Abdulali, noise activist and founder of Awaaz Foundation.