Ban of sale and use of firecrackers in Delhi is just on paper
Last year, when the ban was in force, the city was left enveloped in a thick blanket of smog after rampant bursting of firecrackers by people on Diwali
Delhi Police seized 2,220 kgs of firecrackers on Wednesday and arrested over six offenders who were found selling and possessing illegal firecrackers.
Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai has said that manufacturing, selling, and purchasing firecrackers in Delhi will be considered a punishable offence under Section 9B of the Explosives Act with up to three years of jail time and ₹5,000 in fine, while bursting firecrackers will result to six months' jail time and ₹200 in fine.
According to Deputy Commissioner of (South), Delhi Police, three arrests were made in and around the Madangir central market in Ambedkar Nagar – a prime location for firecrackers sellers and dealers. Sanjay Kumar, Dinesh Chand and Sagar were arrested selling around 1,193, 250 and 283 kgs of banned firecrackers respectively.
The police also made arrests at three shops in Uttam Nagar and Rawta Mor, and shop owners Shanky, Suresh Tareja and Rakesh Kumar were found in possession of 225 kgs of banned firecrackers cumulatively.
Other shop owners and dealers of illegal crackers were picked up from various parts of the city based on either tip-offs or patrolling.
Speaking about the soaring pollution levels in Delhi, Minakshi Ghosh, a resident of Chittaranjan Park says: “The pollution levels are already unbearable in Delhi at the moment. I don’t know what is being done to control this pollution but Diwali definitely aggravates the situation. Post Diwali, Delhi is hardly visible, it’s submerged in smog.”
“There seems to be a clear change with regards to the selling of hazardous firecrackers but what the government calls ‘green crackers' are still being sold, which is the same thing but with less smoke being emitted. It’s only 50 percent less than the other firecrackers but is nevertheless creating smoke and adding to pollution. 'Green crackers' are absolutely pointless. What’s worse is terming the usual smoke-emitting crackers like phuljhari or charkhi as ‘green’ – they are anything but environment friendly,” she added.
She also pointed out that beyond the city, in Gurgaon and Noida, banned firecrackers are being sold in abundance and its “dealers” in Delhi were sourcing them from these regions.
Since 2020, there has been a blanket ban placed on firecrackers in Delhi, and Delhi Police has since been raiding various areas of the city in search of sellers close to the festive season.
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court rejected a plea challenging the firecracker ban on Wednesday. The plea was filed by two merchants who requested sale of only 'green crackers'. However, on October 10 the Supreme Court (SC) dismissed a plea requesting a blanket ban on firecrackers across India.
Additionally, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has ordered a complete ban on all firecrackers till January 1, 2023 in the city.
It remains to be seen how situation actually plays out on the ground level in the national capital in the run up to the festival of lights.