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Monday, October 25, 2021

Chandigarh bans crackers till further orders, city dealers protest

It was stated that the decision has been taken keeping in view the ongoing Covid situation, orders of National Green Tribunal and Disaster Management Act.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
Updated: October 13, 2021 11:04:03 am
Artist Bhura from Bagpat in Uttar Pradesh gives final touches to the effigy of Ravana at Parade Ground in Sector 17, ahead of Dussehra celebration, on Tuesday. Kamleshwar Singh

The UT Administration on Tuesday imposed a complete ban on sale and use of crackers in the city till further orders. The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by UT Adviser Dharam Pal.

The administration said that the decision has been taken keeping in mind orders of the National Green Tribunal.

“Keeping in mind the NGT orders, the Chandigarh Administration has decided to impose a complete ban on sale or use of crackers of any kind, throughout the Union Territory of Chandigarh. After extensive consultation with health, environment experts and other stakeholders, it has been decided that the toxic air rising out of the crackers is likely to affect the health. Therefore, residents must avoid bursting crackers this festive season,” the Chandigarh Administration said.

It was stated that the decision has been taken keeping in view the ongoing Covid situation, orders of National Green Tribunal and Disaster Management Act. Any violation of the orders will invite penal action under sections 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of the IPC and other provisions as applicable.

A written order by Chandigarh Adviser Dharam Pal said, “I hereby order a complete ban on sale or use of crackers of any kind, throughout the union territory of Chandigarh. These directions are issued as a containment measure to prevent risk of spread of COVID 19 due to polluted atmosphere created by bursting of crackers. These orders will come into force with immediate effect and will remain in force till further orders.”

‘There should be unanimity in Tricity’

Minutes after the UT announced the decision, the Cracker Dealers’ Association said that the decision is one-sided.

“Not a single officer consulted us. What to talk of consulting, no one gave us time. We have our previous year’s crackers which have still not been sold. And now this decision,” said Davinder Gupta, president of the association.

Gupta added, “What is this disparity? There is no ban in Punjab and Haryana, then why in Chandigarh? At least someone should listen to our grievance. Can they stop people from getting crackers from Panchkula and Mohali? Why people of Chandigarh are being deprived? There should be a unanimous decision in Tricity.”

On Monday, a delegation of the association had met the Deputy Commissioner “amid clouds of uncertainty over the future of fireworks businesses in Chandigarh”.

They had said that “in the absence of clear guidelines, the trade of crackers is going through the worst phase in the last two years. Last year also the administration had banned the selling and bursting of crackers in Chandigarh whereas the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal were selling and bursting the crackers without any hindrance by the local government”.

The association had alleged that time and again they had approached the District Magistrate to take the decision well in time so that the traders are not the sufferers. In 2020, the administration had earned nearly Rs 10 lakh from the traders by calling applications for issuance of cracker licences which was later withdrawn by the administration but the hard-earned money of nearly 1,650 traders was taken in the name of licence fees by the administration, which has still not been returned, they stated.

The association stated that “this year the Cracker Dealers Association, Chandigarh, has put forth their demand before the Chandigarh Administration that if the neighbouring states of Chandigarh had not banned the crackers then the same should not be banned in Chandigarh”.

Effigies to burn

Dussehra effigies are almost on the verge of completion and this time, there won’t be any crackers in the effigies since the UT has banned the sale and use of crackers.

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