School students say no to crackers

Pune Students from all over the state have resolved to refrain from purchasing firecrackers and save Rs15 crore this Diwali under a campaign run by the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (Mans).

Forms with the resolution to save money on firecrackers were filled by nearly 7.48 lakh students from 1,726 schools across the state. The forms had to be signed by students as well as parents. Through eco-clubs 2,89,741 children from 4,974 schools resolved to save Rs1.80 lakh on firecrackers.

In response to the appeal by Mans to avoid pollution and save money, children from 70 schools from the city resolved to save Rs1.2 crore on firecrackers.

Founder of Mans, Narendra Dabholkar, said the campaign had become a people's movement with the positive response from government, schools, children and general public.

The campaign was launched along with National Green Corps of social forestry department under which eco-clubs have been started in schools all overthe state.

"The campaign revealed that even in rural areas a child spent about Rs400 on firecrackers. Our activists went to schools and educated the students about the dangers and pollution caused by firecrackers and appealed to them to refrain from burning crackers this Diwali. We got tremendous response to our initiative," said Dabholkar.

The Mans had put up posters of Sachin Tendulkar, scientist Jayant Narlikar, actor Nana Patekar, social activists Anna Hazare and Baba Amte, appealing to students to stay away from firecrackers.

"Much to our surprise, children were more than happy to do away with firecrackers. Mans will give a participation certificate signed by Tendulkar, Narlikar and others to the participating schools," he said.

Dabholkar hoped that the business of firecrackers would be wiped out through the campaigning in a few years. "The sale of firecrackers needs to be controlled not just during Diwali, but also in political rallies and marriages," he stated. The campaign will conclude on Thursday with a programme at Mantralaya in Mumbai.

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Story First Published: November 04, 2010 14:22 IST

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