Supreme Court say on firecrackers meets loud opposition from Puneites
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Supreme Court say on firecrackers meets loud opposition from Puneites

Despite apex court’s statement on crackers, city sees 35 fire incidents, steady rise in pollution levels and seven burn victims in two days

pune Updated: Nov 10, 2018 16:01 IST
HT CORRESPONDENT
HT CORRESPONDENT
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Supreme Court,loud opposition
Deepotsav at Chatushrungi temple on the occasion of Diwali Padwa organised by Rashriya Kala Academy in Pune, on Thursday.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

As many as 35 incidents of fire, more than double of last years number, due to bursting of crackers by citizens have been reported in the city during the past two days despite Supreme Court verdict. Last year the figure stood at fourteen such incidents which took place on the days of Laxmi pujan and Padwa, fire brigade officials stated. However, in none of the incidents were residents reported to be injured.

Data available with the fire department states that the number of incidents of fire in the city during Diwali increased from 6 in 2004 upto 11 in 2005 , peaked to 50 in 2015 and came down to 14 in 2017.

A major fire broke out at a small fibre moulding unit located in Bhavani Peth on Thursday evening at around 6 pm. The fire gutted huge fibre material including plastic products stacked in the godown of the company. In Bopodi, a warehouse caught fire after a firecracker landed on the wooden logs at around 4 am on Thursday. The entire warehouse was burnt due to the sudden fire. The fire was brought under control within half an hour, fire brigade officials said.

Prashant Ranpise, PMC fire brigade chief said that the fire incidents that take place due to Diwali festivities have been on a rise since the past few years. “In order to tackle the menace of fire problems and pollution during Diwali, we have issued awareness pamphlets to firecracker traders and citizens alike explaining the importance of taking adequate precautions while bursting crackers during the festival” added Ranpise.

He informed that the fires took place in commercial establishments such as shops, garbage dumps, trees and even homes “ Use of explosive crackers such as bottle rockets, anaar, fountain and flower pots caused fires in homes of people," he said. The fire department had kept its entire staff prepared and on duty in order in the off chance of the occurrence of an incident. All fire stations have been instructed regarding fire safety disaster management by their regional fire officers, which in turn led to quick response by the city fire brigade. The fire tenders reached the spots between an average time of 10-15 minutes which led to considerable control of fires in a short span of time.

Playing with fire every year

Number of fire incidents reported during Diwali over the past six years

2013: 15

2014: 20

2015: 50

2016: 25

2017: 14

2018: 35(so far)

SC’s time-limit of bursting crackers gets mixed response

Ananya Barua and Shrinivas Deshpande

With the Supreme court (SC) imposingrestrictions on bursting firecrackers this year, residents from old city areas seem to have adhered to it, as opposed to those in suburbs that openly flouted it on the pretext of celebrations. One of the restrictions was to burst the firecrackers within a stipulated time, for two hours, between 8 pm to 10 pm, with no firecrackers to be burst in the day-time.

Residents in areas like, Laxmi road, Deccan, Shivajinagar and several other old parts of the city, known as commercial areas, by and large adhered to the SC ruling.

To further the noise-free agenda this Diwali, Laxmi road traders association, a week prior to the festivities, launched a WhatsApp campaign to promote noise-free Diwali. Rahul Bora, Laxmi road association president said,” Wedecided to follow SC guidelines in entirety. According to that we instructed all our members to burst minimum firecrackers this year.As a result of this,we have observed minimum bursting (and in stipulated time) which helps to reduce pollution level in city

Women celebrate Bhaubij with fire brigade officials at central fire station organised by Bhoi pratisthan in Pune, on Friday. (HT/PHOTO)

A number of housing societies also put up notices to urge residents to comply by the ruling for the larger good though only few followed the guidelines.“It would have been great if eco-friendly firecrackers were made available in the market as many of us at the society had been on the lookout for them. But, nevertheless, we did adhere to the directives. Also, to avoid any case of mishap within the limited space of societies, crackers were not burst inside the society but in the open area of the streets, under proper adult supervision,” saidDaljeet Goraya, secretary of Ganga Kingston society, Mohammadwadi.

Madhav Gokhale,resident of Narayan Peth said,“Some might feel that the SC order interferes with their festivities but at the end of the day it is for the environment which needs to be taken seriously. These areas being old and more congested run a high risk of elevated pollution along with more numbers of fire-based accidents. Most of it can be avoided and so, most of the people here, managed to comply by the ruling.”

According to a resident near Bibvewadi, the rate of bursting crackers might have been affected by the ruling, but at large people continued to celebrate the festival amid the similar noisy gusto.“It is just a few days of the year and people do much more every single day to spread noise and air pollution. So, we did burst crackers and celebrate the festival as we have been doing in the past few years. The time limit of only two hours was not enough and many indulged for a few more hours,” saidSachin Kelkar, a resident ofShivshakti housing society, Padmavati nagar.

Another resident from Vishranthwadi, Prashant Mohanty added,“In these few days, many of us did not get a stretch of holidays and would come back home late at night. With the kids and the entire family waiting for you to come and begin the festivities, such restrictions cannot be bound by time. So, yes the celebrations did continue till 11.30 pm here.”

Sassoon hospital sees seven firecracker burn patients

Nozia Sayyed

Government run Sassoon hospital admitted two cases of burns caused due to bursting of fire crackers and treated around five in its OPD post Diwali, according to hospital authorities. The hospital saw total seven patients since Wednesday midnight.

All the seven cases came post Laxmi Pujan, which was on Wednesday and of which majority were paediatric patients.

Sharing details about the same,a staff nurse at the burns ward of the hospital, requesting anonymity said, “As of now there are two admissions with us. One is a 12-year-old girl and other is a three-year-old boy. The girl has suffered 25 to 30 percent burns while the boy who faced only 10 percent of burns has severely injured his eyes due to bursting of fire crackers. The child is a victim of the accidental burn as he was not playing or bursting crackers but was hurt while walking on the streets where other children were bursting crackers. The girl has suffers from a blackened face and deep burn on her hand.”

Other patients who were treated at the OPD were three adults who came to us with one or two percent of burns. They sustained injuries trying to save children from accidental burning and rest two were paediatric cases—two year old and three year old respectively, she said.All the cases were from nearby Peth areas, she ended.

First Published: Nov 10, 2018 15:59 IST