Delhi: Rs. 1 lakh fine on bursting or selling firecrackers
Bursting or selling firecrackers in the national capital this season could invite a fine of up to Rs. 1 lakh, Delhi's Environment Minister Gopal Rai said on Friday. His comment came a day after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a complete ban on the sale and use of firecrackers ahead of Diwali in order to control pollution levels and rise in COVID-19 cases.
According to Kejriwal's announcement, the ban on firecrackers will be in force starting November 7 until November 30. Now, Rai has said that people caught selling or bursting firecrackers can be fined an amount up to Rs. 1 lakh under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act (1981). "Prosecutions will be made under the Air Act (for this)," the minister said.
Worryingly, the air quality in Delhi has been deteriorating lately, due to reasons such as stubble burning in the neighboring states of Haryana and Punjab. This morning, the national capital's Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 397, which falls in the "very poor" category. On Thursday, Delhi's air quality was even worse, falling under the "severe" category.
Further, Rai said that he will convene a meeting with representatives from the environment department, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and the Delhi Police on Monday to formulate a detailed action plan to implement the ban. "Looking at the rising number of COVID-19 cases in city, saving people's lives is more important than the economic aspect of losses borne by cracker traders," he said.
"While the regular pollution sources in Delhi continue to remain consistent throughout the year, bursting crackers ahead of Diwali and the stubble burning in neighboring states add to Delhi's pollution levels," Rai said. He also announced the setting up of a 15-member impact assessment panel to monitor spraying and record the effectiveness of the 'Pusa bio-decomposer,' which promises to turn farm stubble into manure.