To draw a ‘balance,’ Haryana allows bursting of firecrackers for 2 hours on Diwali
Haryana, which had announced a ban on sale of firecrackers in the state, has now allowed bursting them for two hours during upcoming festivals, including Diwali.
In an order, dated November 8, the Haryana government said the decision had been taken to strike a “balance” between the potentially harmful consequences of bursting crackers amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and the economic impact of the ban on small traders.
“Whereas amidst the Covid-19 pandemic through which the state of Haryana is passing and considering the approaching winter season during which the elderly, children, persons with co-morbidities and others, may develop respiratory problems,” noted the order signed by Chief Secretary-cum-chairperson of the Haryana state executive committee.
“And whereas during the approaching festive season of Diwali, Gurupurab and Kartik Purnima, people usually burst crackers which can affect the respiratory health of vulnerable groups and aggravate the health condition of Covid-19 positive persons and persons in home isolation,” the order further said.
“Exercising the powers conferred to me under the Disaster Management Act, 2005,” the order quoted the chief secretary as saying bursting of firecrackers will be allowed only between 8pm and 10pm during the upcoming festivals like Diwali and Gurupurab. However, on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the order said, bursting of firecrackers will be allowed between 11:55pm and 00:30am.
The order also directed concerned authorities to pre-identify areas/fields to promote community fire cracking. Anyone violating the guidelines, it said, would be punished under Section 51-60 of the Disaster Management Act, as well under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other provisions.
Last week, the state’s Manohar Lal Khattar government had initially announced a ban only on the sale of imported firecrackers, which, on Friday, was modified to all firecrackers. Then, on Sunday, Khattar said people can burst crackers for two hours.
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A number of states, including Delhi and West Bengal, have announced a total ban on firecrackers in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and air pollution. Maharashtra, on the other hand, has not announced a ban but chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has urged citizens to exercise discipline.