Citing health risk to Covid-19 patients, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday banned bursting of firecrackers in Mumbai till November 30 with immediate effect, making an exception for Diwali on November 14, when less polluting or mild firecrackers like fuljhadi and anar can be burst inside housing societies or outside houses in the evening.
Bursting of firecrackers anywhere else, like in hotels, clubs, gymkhanas as well as organisation and commercial premises, has been banned completely.
“We have made an exception for November 14 when in the evening, especially children under the guidance of parents, can burst firecrackers that are mild in nature…,” stated the guidelines.
Hinting at a possible ban on firecrackers in the state during Diwali, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope had last week said that the measure was necessary to shield Covid-19 patients and stall a possible second wave of the infection in the state.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had on Sunday said that while the state would not ban firecrackers, this Diwali, people need to refrain from using them in the interest of health and safety of all. “(Covid-19) cases in Delhi have increased because of pollution that weakens the respiratory system. We could have banned firecrackers but we are not doing that. This year, we have celebrated many festivals with simplicity. You have always listened to me and I know you will continue to do so. Celebrate Diwali, light lamps, enjoy faraal (delicacies prepared in Maharashtrian homes) but avoid firecrackers,” Uddhav had said in his address to the state.
The BMC, however, came out with its own directives on Monday, stating that action will be taken against those who found violating the guidelines.
“All assistant municipal commissioners of the 24 administrative wards and local police stations have been asked to implement these guidelines. If anybody is found violating the norms, BMC and police teams can take action against them under Epidemic Act, 1897 and Disaster Management Act, 2005,” said a civic body official.
Officials said that the decision was taken in larger “public interest” considering the pandemic situation. Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said, “Let us strive to have a cracker-free Diwali this year to save our great city of Mumbai from possible second wave of Covid.”
The BMC has also appealed to residents to follow social distancing norms, wear masks and avoid firecrackers even on November 14. It has instructed people not to use sanitizers while lighting diyas or bursting firecrackers, as it is flammable in nature and could cause accidents. It further requested residents to use online mediums to observe Diwali and Bhai Dooj.
Meanwhile, taking note of increased crowd at public places, the BMC commissioner has directed civic and police teams to take action.
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