With the Air Quality Index (AQI) descending to ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ levels across Haryana except Palwal, sale and use of firecrackers has been banned in the state except in Panchkula this Diwali.
Air quality in Panchkula has entered the ‘poor’ zone but green crackers have been allowed for two hours (8 pm to 10 pm) on Diwali because its AQI had remained in the ‘moderate’ in terms of air quality in November 2019. Even this year, Panchkula remained in the ‘moderate’ or ‘satisfactory’ zone during the initial days of November.
The NGT had issued guidelines regarding a complete ban on the sale or use of firecrackers in districts adjoining NCR from midnight of November 9-10 to midnight of November 30 to December 1. As many as 14 districts of Haryana fall in the NCR.
Currently, Palwal too falls in the category of ‘moderate’ in terms of AQI, but green crackers can’t be allowed here because the NGT has banned sale and use of firecrackers in NCR. “Firecrackers have been banned across the state (except Panchkula), subsequent to NGT’s orders banning crackers in NCR, covering 14 districts of Haryana. Similar directions have been implemented in 7 more towns/cities in the state, where the quality of air was ‘poor’ or worse during the month of November last year. In Panchkula, only green crackers are allowed with time restrictions, as per the tribunal’s directions,” said S Narayanan, member secretary, Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB).
On Thursday, the AQI of Bahadurgarh, Charkhi Dadri, Dharuhera, Faridabad, Hisar, Jind, Sonipat, Sirsa and Yamunanagar hit the ‘very poor’ category while Fatehabad fell in the ‘severe’ category. Ambala, Ballabgarh, Bhiwani, Gurugram, Kaithal, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Mewat (Mandikhera), Manesar, Narnaul, Panchkula, Panipat and Rohtak have been categorised in ‘poor’ in terms of air quality. With the air quality falling in the category of ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, bursting of firecrackers won’t be allowed in these areas too.
NGT had directed that in the cities or towns where air quality is ‘moderate’ or below, only green crackers be sold and the timings for use and bursting of crackers be restricted to two hours during festivals, like Diwali, Chatt, New Year and Christmas.
Apart from informing all deputy commissioners regarding the directions of the NGT, the HSPCB issued directions to its regional officers to initiate special drives to contain air pollution from all sources in view of the potential of aggravation of Covid-19. The board has said that it will monitor the air quality during the festive season.
Keeping in view the directions of the NGT, Fatehabad Deputy Commissioner Narhari Singh Banger has appointed duty magistrates to ensure ban on sale and use of firecrackers and maintain law and order. Hisar District Magistrate Dr Priyanka Soni too has ordered a complete ban on use or sale of the fire crackers. “The violators of these orders will face action under section 144 of the CrPC,” she added.
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