The Gurgaon District Magistrate has banned use of firecrackers in the city, days after the Haryana government allowed sale and use of firecrackers for two hours on festivals, including Diwali, citing impact on small traders. The state had also allowed celebratory bursting of "green crackers" on occasions.
The latest order by the Gurgaon District Magistrate citing a ban by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on using firecrackers till November 30 said it supersedes all other orders, so the two-hour window is no longer applicable in Gurgaon.
The NGT imposed a total ban on sale and use of firecrackers in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). If anyone in Delhi is caught bursting firecrackers in this duration, they can be sentenced to 1.5-6 years in jail, state Environment Minister Gopal Rai said.
"Some relaxation was granted to use firecrackers in Gurugram/NCR... The use of these crackers will further aggravate pollution in the area, which is already reeling under acute pollution due to smog and emission of other poisonous gases and pollutants," the Gurgaon District Magistrate said in the order.
"A complete ban on sale and use of firecrackers of all types in the district is hereby imposed... The offenders/non-compliance will be dealt with sternly under the relevant clauses on the subject. This order supersedes all the previous orders issued by this office... Therefore, the previous orders permitting usage for a limited time/window on Diwali should be treated as withdrawn and void," the District Magistrate said in the order.
Nationwide, the NGT's ban on firecrackers will be applicable to all cities and towns where the average ambient air quality in November last year was "poor" or "worse".
The Haryana government had allowed people to burst crackers for two hours - 8 pm to 10 pm - on Diwali, Gurupurab and Kartik Poornima, the order states. On Christmas and New Year, people can burst firecrackers from 11:55 pm to 12:30 am, it adds.
The order was issued hours after Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar cited the relaxations on being questioned about economic losses to traders.
Coronavirus affects lungs and the surge in air pollution that takes place around this time of the year and the onset of winter is expected to lead to a spike in numbers.