Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday disapproved of the idea of a ban on the sale of firecrackers in Maharashtra, a day after his party leader and state minister Ramdas Kadam sought its proscription to protect the environment.
He also appeared criticising curbs on celebrations during Hindu festivals when he said, “The only things that they have not said till now are that tear off the ‘Panchang’ (Almanac) because festivals are all humbug. They should say that also. After all, the festivals have already lost their sheen. The excesses of peace would someday explode.”
Last year, the apex court had banned those below 18 from participating in the Dahi Handi sport and limited the height of human pyramids to 20 feet. Also, activists moved courts this year demanding a ban on the use of loudspeakers during Ganpati Visarjan festivities.
Administering the oath for an “eco-friendly Diwali” to the schoolchildren at the Mantralaya on Tuesday, Kadam had said he would request Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to ban the sale of firecrackers in the state, on the lines of the Supreme Court’s verdict for the Delhi-NCR region. Kadam retracted the statement saying the Shiv Sena will not support anything that “goes against Hindu sentiments”.
He had came under sharp criticism from party colleague Sanjay Raut and MNS chief Raj Thackeray for his remarks. “I had never said the state government is contemplating a ban,” Kadam said on Wednesday. “I had said that the issue is sensitive one and if at all a ban is to be imposed, Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis would discuss it and take a decision as it would be a policy decision,” he said. He added, “As environment ministry, our entire thrust would be on creating awareness among the people about the harmful effects of firecrackers.” The awareness drive will be undertaken to convince children and their parents about the pollution created by firecrackers, he said.
Thackeray made his displeasure public when he visited the Metro-3 work site at the Azad Maidan in the south Mumbai. He also expressed unhappiness over the ongoing metro work. “I am not happy with the metro work being carried out in the vicinity of the Aarey colony. I shall visit the area soon and make my stand clear. If the nature is being harmed due to the work, the Shiv Sena will certainly oppose the work,” he said.
Thackeray also said there were several complaints about damage to buildings due to underground work of the Metro 3 line. “However, the officers are taking good care to avoid any mishap,” he added.