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Firecrackers lose sparkle after SC restrictions

Panjim: With the restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court on quality and timings for usage of firecrackers, the sale of the same has dropped down drastically, almost to the tune of 50 per cent as against last year. Apart from the court order, school students have also been made aware of the environmental hazards and noise pollution and they are playing the ambassadorial role for avoiding high decibel and smoking firecrackers.

The shops selling firecrackers wore a deserted look and people were only seen buying clay “diyas” and candles and some decorative items.

“Where is the sale? No one is picking up these fire crackers. Narkasur is just one day away and Diwali is close but still we have 75 per cent inventory. The sale has dropped down considerably after various campaigns in the media that firecrackers are harmful both for environment and health,” said a firecracker wholesale dealer in Panjim on the condition of anonymity.

In fact, three other wholesale dealers refused to talk to the media.

Herald talked to some shoppers in Panjim and asked them why were they not interested in buying firecrackers? Pramod Nayak, a buyer told Herald, “My son is eight years old and he told me not to buy any cracker, which makes noise. In fact, he told me that all his school friends discussed about this. He told me that during Narkasur, the loud music is more than enough and crackers are not required. Hence, this time, we will only buy those crackers, which are environment friendly.”

Lata Sawant along with her son Adwait said, “We are not buying any crackers, which will create noise pollution and smoke. We can enjoy our festivities even without them. In fact, we can use the same money to buy something worthwhile.”

On October 23, the Supreme Court by refusing to impose a complete ban on sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali conditionally allowed sale of fireworks that meet the standards of low emission and decibel.

A Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan imposed time limits for bursting of firecrackers from 8 pm to 10 pm for Diwali and between 11:55 pm and 12:30 am on other occasions such as Christmas and New Year. These timings are applicable all over India.

The judgment was crucial as people have been suffering for long from extremely high levels of air pollution, which peaks every year during Diwali. The court also kept in mind the interest of those dependent on the manufacture and sale of firecrackers and struck a balance by not imposing a complete ban.

However, the Supreme Court has allowed only environment friendly firecrackers to be sold and said that this should be done only through licensed traders. The court has banned the manufacture, sale and use of joined firecrackers, such as series crackers or “laris”.

Even the e-commerce platforms have been asked not to sell fireworks online. If they are found to be doing so, they would be hauled up for contempt of court and may have to face monetary penalties. [H]

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