Fireworks and crackers, an integral part of Diwali and Kali Puja, almost disappeared on Saturday night from the West Bengal capital as a vast majority of residents followed the recent order of the Calcutta high court.
Barring a handful of incidents in some pockets, the festival was marked for the first time as one without air and noise pollution. The vigilant Kolkata Police seized a few thousand kilos of fireworks before and during the festival and arrested 294 people.
The Kolkata Police tweeted photos of the city skyline in the middle of the night to show the effect of the ban.
“This became possible only because of the level of consciousness among citizens. People followed the rules in the interest of society,” said urban development minister Firhad Hakim. The court had banned the use of all types of fireworks in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I cannot believe this. For elderly people who suffer from asthma like me, the festival of lights turns into a nightmare. I felt so relieved,” said Saradindu Roy, 75, a resident of Gariahat in south Kolkata.
The districts, however, stayed behind Kolkata with fireworks used at random in some parts. A minor girl even died of burn injuries in the Kaliachak area of Mala district in a fireworks related accident.
There were, however, a few incidents of accidental fire in Kolkata. Part of a slum at Baguiati in east Kolkata was gutted when one of the rooms caught fire from candles and the flames spread to adjacent homes. In another incident, an elderly woman died inside her home in central Kolkata when her saree caught fire from an oil lamp.