The Calcutta High Court has banned the use of firecrackers in West Bengal on Diwali, Kali Puja and Chatt Puja in view of the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the world.
The order came after several PILs appealing for a complete ban on firecrackers in order to control air pollution which is hazardous for COVID-19 patients.
The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government had appealed to people to refrain from burning firecrackers but issued any order.
“With everybody’s cooperation, we want to hold the Kali Puja and Diwali festivals avoiding firecrackers. The administration appeals to people to avoid firecrackers,” Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay had said.
With the High Court order, Bengal joins Delhi, Odisha, Rajasthan and Sikkim to ban firecrackers due to coronavirus.
The police has also been instructed by the court to ensure no sale of firecrackers anywhere either.
Just as in Durga Puja, the court has ordered a no entry into Kali Puja pandals and set ceilings on the number of organisers who may enter depending on the size of the pandal.
The police has been ordered to maintain Covid protocol at big Kali temples like Dakshineswar and Kalighat.
Earlier, a fireworks makers’ association in the state had urged the authorities to reconsider the move saying the livelihood of lakhs were at stake.
The president of ”Poschim Bango Atosbazi Unnayan Samity” Babla Roy said livelihoods of around four lakh people would be affectes if by a ban fireworks sale, news agency PTI reported.
Mr Roy had urged the Chief Minister’s Office to grant permission to burst crackers for 2 hours on Kali Puja and Diwali. He had also demanded a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to firework dealer, numbering over 53,000.
Environmentalist Ajoy Kumar Dey on Tuesday filed a petition before the Calcutta High Court seeking a complete ban on the sale and burning of all kinds of fireworks during Kali Puja and Diwali this year in view of the pandemic.
West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) sources told news agency PTI they are mulling over steps, in coordination with police, to enforce the government advisory especially in suburbs and apartments.