The Chandigarh administration on Monday said that the National Green Tribunal has vindicated their orders, adding that they will stick to their stand on the cracker ban.
The UT had passed orders banning sale and use of crackers in Chandigarh, last Friday, citing that it is necessary to prevent second a Covid-19 wave.
“We have been vindicated by NGT orders and we stick to our decision,” said UT Adviser Manoj Parida while speaking to The Indian Express. He added that the tribunal has passed comprehensive order regarding crackers, which supports the decision already taken by the Chandigarh Administration.
The NGT in its orders on Monday, while enforcing ban in NCR region further stated that besides the NCR region, the direction will apply to all cities and towns in the country where the average of ambient air quality during November (as per available data of last year) have dropped below the ‘poor’ category.
In areas of “moderate” air quality, only green crackers can be sold. The NGT further issued specific two-hour windows to burn crackers during festivals like Diwali, Chatt, New Year/Christmas Eve.
In the war room meeting held Monday, UT Administrator VP Singh Badnore directed Mandip Brar, Deputy Commissioner, Chandigarh to return deposits taken from traders, while holding draw of lots for deciding stalls for sale of crackers.
After the administration’s firm stand, cracker sellers gathered outside the BJP office in Sector 33, seeking relief.
“This is cheating with us. NGT order says the ban will be in force in cities where AQI is poor. Chandigarh’s air quality is better than that of Punjab. Crackers will be burst in Mohali, Panchkula, but not in Chandigarh,” said Chirag Aggarwal, General Secretary of the Chandigarh crackers seller association.
The Administrator also appealed to the residents to take precautions and strictly follow Covid-19 protocol during Deepawali celebrations, in view of rising number of cases. He also directed all hospitals to restore the original OPD facilities fully after Diwali.
Dr Jagat Ram, Director, PGIMER stated that number of Covid-19 cases have increased from 55 to 111. The number has more than doubled. Out of 111 cases, 29 belong to Chandigarh, 40 to Punjab, 18 to Haryana, 16 to Himachal Pradesh and eight to other regions. He also mentioned that PGIMER has tested 3,362 covid samples from patients coming from neighbouring states and found 8.7% positivity rate.
He further stated that during the last week, 1,062 patients were provided physical medical treatment in OPDs, and added that every Diwali, almost 50 patients would turn blind due to cracker-related accidents.
Sector 48 hospital reopened
Acting Director Principal, GMCH 32, Dr Jasbinder Kaur mentioned that they have tested 1,417 Covid samples and found positivity rate of 7.1 per cent. She also mentioned that due to increased number of cases, the Sector 48 hospital, which was closed, has been re-opened to accommodate patients affected with the virus.
Dr Amandeep Kang, Director Health Services stated that they have tested 5,858 Covid samples and the positivity rate was 8.6 per cent, showing an increase in trend. She also mentioned that 168 persons have been diagnosed with dengue and 708 persons have been kept in home isolation for Covid. She further mentioned that during the last week, 14,823 persons were provided OPD facilities at the Sector 16 hospital and other centres.
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