New Delhi: With Diwali a day away, several states and Union Territories have implemented bans on the sale and use of firecrackers in varying degrees amid concerns over rising air pollution that could worsen the Covid-19 situation in some states.
Earlier this week, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned sale and use of crackers in the National Capital Region, and issued notices to 18 states and union territories where the air quality is “not satisfactory”, urging a ban on crackers from 9-30 November.
Last week, the NGT had sought a response several states — Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttarakhand and West Bengal — regarding their decisions on the issue of banning crackers.
States and Union Territories (UTs) that haven’t issued statements on the sale and bursting of firecrackers yet include Bihar, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Ladakh and Lakshadweep.
In states where restrictions have been imposed, penalties for violations will depend on the laws under which bans have been imposed.
For instance, Delhi has imposed a ban under the Air Act. The sale or use of fireworks is punishable by a fine of Rs 1 lakh or a jail term that can extend up to one month.
Sikkim and Odisha have cited the Disaster Management Act to Section 188 (for non-compliance of prohibitory order) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) while Haryana has imposed restrictions under both the disaster management Act and Section 188 of the IPC.
In West Bengal, buying, selling or bursting firecrackers will attract a six-month jail term. Meanwhile, in Rajasthan, selling fireworks is punishable by a fine of Rs 10,000 and bursting them comes with a fine of Rs 2,000.
ThePrint looks at how the states/UTs have imposed bans on firecrackers.
Delhi: The Delhi government has imposed a complete ban on the sale and bursting of all types of firecrackers, and said violations will be penalised under the Air Act.
Chandigarh: The Chandigarh administration has issued a complete ban on crackers.
Haryana: Haryana has allowed crackers to be burst for two hours from 8-10 pm on Diwali, Kartik Poornima and Gurpurab (both on 30 November). This came days after the state government imposed a ban on the sale of firecrackers.
Jammu & Kashmir: The union territory administration has allowed only green crackers to be burst from 8-10 pm on Diwali and Gurpurab, 6-8 am on Chhath Puja (20 November) and 11.55pm-12.30 am on the eve of Christmas and New Year’s.
Punjab: Punjab has allowed only green crackers to be burst from 8-10 pm on Diwali, 4-5 am and 9-10 pm on Gurpurab and 11.55pm-12.30 am on Christmas eve.
The state has imposed a complete ban on crackers in the industrial town of Mandi Gobindgarh due to its poor air quality.
Uttarakhand: Uttarakhand has allowed only green crackers to be sold in six major cities, which can be burst between 8-10 pm on Diwali and Gurpurab, and between 6-8 am on Chhath.
Uttar Pradesh: Uttar Pradesh has banned firecrackers until 30 November in 13 pollution-hit districts.
Rajasthan: The Rajasthan government has issued a complete ban of the sale and use of all firecrackers.
Central and western states
Madhya Pradesh: There is no ban on bursting crackers in Madhya Pradesh, but sale of crackers imported from China and those with pictures of Hindu deities on packets is prohibited.
Maharashtra: The Maharashtra government has banned crackers in nine districts and asked local authorities of 14 districts to take a call on the matter.
Gujarat: In Ahmedabad, the police have allowed crackers to be burst from 8-10 pm on Diwali. But, there is not much clarity on the matter in the rest of the state.
Goa: Goa has allowed crackers to be burst from 4.30-5.30 am and from 7-8 pm on Diwali.
Chhattisgarh: The Chhattisgarh government has ordered strict implementation of the NGT’s notice and bursting of firecrackers has been restricted to two-hour windows on Diwali, Chhath Puja, Christmas, Gurpurab and New Year.
According to the guidelines, crackers can be burst on Diwali and Gurpurab between 8-10 pm, between 6-8 am on Chhath Puja, and between 11.55pm-12.30 am for New Year/Christmas.
Andhra Pradesh: Andhra Pradesh has allowed only green crackers to be burst for two hours, between 8-10 pm, on Diwali.
Karnataka: The state has allowed the sale and use of only green crackers after initially indicating that it would implement a complete ban on all fireworks due to the pandemic.
Kerala: Kerala has only allowed green crackers to be burst between 8-10 pm on Diwali.
Puducherry: The UT has banned some varieties of firecrackers, while allowing certain other varieties to be burst from 6-7 am and 7-8 pm on Diwali.
Tamil Nadu: Tamil Nadu has allowed crackers to be burst on Diwali between 6-7 am and between 7-8 pm.
Telangana: Telangana has imposed a complete ban on the sale and use of firecrackers.
East and Northeast
West Bengal: The Calcutta High Court has banned the sale and use of firecrackers and the Supreme Court has vowed not to interfere in its decision.
Assam: It is unclear if there is a ban on firecrackers in Assam.
Earlier this week, Pollution Control Board Assam (PCBA) ordered a complete ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in Guwahati from 9-30 November in Guwahati.
It also said areas other than Guwahati can burst green crackers from 8-10 pm on Diwali, 6-8 am on Chhath Puja and 11.55pm-12.30 am on Christmas and New Year’s eve. However, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, in a tweet Tuesday, said the government has not imposed any such restrictions and that “Hindus have a right to celebrate”.
🎉 Like any other religion, Hindus have the right to celebrate festivals. With improvement in #COVID19 situation in Assam,we plan no restrictions on celebration of #Diwali including use of #Firecrackers.
However, kindly remember, self-restraint is key to combat #COVID19
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) November 10, 2020
Nagaland: Nagaland has banned the sale and use of firecrackers until 31 January 2021.
Odisha: The Odisha government has issued a complete ban on the sale and use of firecrackers across the state from 10-30 November.
Sikkim: The state government has also imposed a complete ban on crackers.
Tripura: Tripura has also imposed a complete ban on the sale and use of firecrackers for Kali Puja celebrations.
Jharkhand: Jharkhand has allowed bursting of firecrackers from 8-10 pm on Diwali.