Other States

No bursting of crackers during Diwali in Odisha

The Odisha government has imposed a ban on the sale and bursting of fire crackers during Diwali from November 10 to 30 in order to prevent the resurgence of COVID-19 infections.

Odisha’s Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) has come up with a notification, which says that due to the proactive steps taken by the government, and cooperation of the people, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic had been controlled to a significant extent.

“While active cases have shown a dip, the danger is still very much present. In some parts of our country and in the world, where COVID-19-appropriate behaviours have not been strictly adhered to, resurgence of COVID-19 infections has been witnessed,” the SRC pointed out

Stating that several countries were compelled to reimpose lockdowns and other extreme measures to contain further spread of the disease, the Odisha Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) said technical experts were of the view that the coming winter season might see further spread of the pandemic.

“Elderly persons, children, persons with comorbidities and others develop respiratory problems during the winter. Further, air pollution aggravates respiratory problems. Bursting of fire crackers releases copious amounts of harmful chemicals, which have a severe impact on the respiratory health of vulnerable groups,” the SRC observed.

The Commissioner maintained that such pollutants could further aggravate the condition of COVID-19 positive persons, and of persons staying in home isolation.

“Considering the potentially harmful consequences of burning of crackers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic situation and the approaching winter, the government, therefore, prohibits the sale and use of fire crackers from November 10 to 30 in public interest,” the SRC said, urging people to celebrate the festival with earthen lamp and candles.

“Anyone found violating the government orders banning the sale and use of fire crackers will be punished as per the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and other relevant laws,” the SRC said.

Odisha’s COVID-19 curve is believed to have plateaued in the last one month, with case positivity rate down to less than 3%. The total case load of the State has now touched 2,94,415, following the addition of 1,201 cases on Tuesday. In the first week of September, the daily spike was consistently above 4,000 cases. As many as 1,352 persons have so far succumbed to COVID-19 in the State.

In Bengal

West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay on Tuesday urged people to avoid fire crackers during Kali Puja or the Diwali festival. The Chief Secretary said that there had been no unfortunate incident during the Durga Puja festival and necessary precautions should be taken during the Kali Puja and Diwali festival.

“The pandal should be open on all sides. Proper health and hygiene measures like wearing of masks should be maintained,” the Chief Secretary said. He added that these guidelines were the result of a meeting presided by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Like Durga Puja, there were several community Kali Pujas in the city and in the suburbs, and crowd management in the present situation was a matter of concern for the administration

“We will avoid crackers and will try to stay away from crackers. In case of immersion, the clubs will be coordinating with the local police station,” Mr. Bandhyopadhyay said.

Senior officials of the State government maintained that there was no ban on crackers but they were making an appeal to people to avoid crackers. The West Bengal Pollution Control Board has issued directions in the past that crackers over 90 decibels sound would not be allowed.

Meanwhile, during the day, a few petitions were filed before the Calcutta High Court demanding that fire crackers be completely banned during the upcoming festival season.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 9:00:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/no-bursting-of-crackers-during-diwali-in-odisha/article33016405.ece

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