NEW DELHI: Enforcement agencies have seized over 12,000 kg of firecrackers in the past one month over illegal storage and sale, according to Delhi government data.
Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) had in October notified a complete ban on the manufacture, storage, bursting and sale of all types of firecrackers, including green crackers, across the capital till January 1, 2024. To ensure that the ban is implemented, teams from the revenue department and Delhi Police conducted inspections. There were 136 firecracker sale violations, according to data submitted to the Delhi government. Around 11,400 kg of firecrackers were seized for bursting during the period and ten such violations were identified.
Those found selling, storing or bursting firecrackers can be penalised under Indian Penal Code sections 188 (deliberate disobedience of an order) and 286 (negligent conduct with respect to explosive substances). Peo ple bursting firecrackers can be charged under IPC section 268, fined Rs 200 or imprisoned for up to six months.
The Explosives Act has provisions for imprisonment for up to three years or a fine of up to Rs 5,000 or both.
A Delhi government official said directions were issued by DPCC to Delhi Police to enforce compliance with the complete ban up to January 1, 2024. Pollution in Delhi escalates from October onwards due to meteorological conditions aided by farm fires in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, leading to smog in Delhi. Combined with vehicular pollution, this gets further worse due to slow wind speeds. This period also coincides with Diwali and other festivals that see emissions from firecrackers.
Delhi government first banned firecrackers in 2017. The Supreme Court in 2018 banned all conventional firecrackers in Delhi-NCR and allowed only green crackers without barium salts to be burst in the region.
“Due to difficulty in differentiating between green and conventional crackers, the government has begun imposing a blanket ban,” said an official.
Delhi Police, revenue department and DPCC have constituted 408 teams to enforce the ban, said officials.
Environment minister Gopal Rai said the air quality inside Delhi has been improving for the last two days. “The pollution level has come down but we still need to be vigilant,” he said.
Source: The Times of India