J&K Govt allows bursting of only “green crackers” for two hours on Diwali

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Jammu, November 11: The Jammu and Kashmir Government on Tuesday restricted the bursting of only “green crackers’’ on Diwali only for two hours between 8 pm to 10 pm.

Pointing out that only “green crackers’’for sale and use in the capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar, an order issued by State Executive Committee of the Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction said the decision has been taken in view of the recent directions of the National Green Tribunal for restricting the sale and use of green crackers in cities and towns where the quality of air is moderate or low.

Since as per the J&K Pollution Control Board’s data for the month of November 2019, the cities of Jammu and Srinagar fall under the moderate category of Air Quality Index (AQI), so only “green crackers’’ shall be permitted for sale and use in both these cities.

It fixed the timing for their use on Diwali and Gupurab from 8 pm to 10 pm, Chhatt from 6 am to 8 am, and on Christmas eve and new year from 11.55 pm to 12.30 am.

It directed the J&K State Pollution Control Board to carry out short-term monitoring in the cities for 14 days with immediate effect for the parameters including aluminum, barium, iron apart from the regulatory parameters against the short-term ambient air quality criteria values proposed by the Central Pollution Control Board with regard to bursting of firecrackers. “This will help in the generation of data on pollution caused by the bursting of firecrackers and would be helpful for regulation and control of quality of parameters used in the manufacture of firecrackers,” the order said.

It said any violation of the directions would invite immediate penal action under relevant sections of the Disaster Management Act besides legal action under the Indian Penal Code and other provisions as applicable. 

Justifying the restrictions, the order said that amidst the COVID-19 pandemic through which the UT is passing as also the approaching winter season during which elderly, children and persons with co-morbidities and others are prone to respiratory problems, the bursting of cracrkers during the approaching festival season of Diwali, Gurpurab, Kartik Purnima, Christmas and New Year can further affect the respiratory health of vulnerable groups, besides aggravating health of COVID-19 patients/persons staying in home isolation.