Mumbai: With the Supreme Court banning the sale of crackers in Delhi, calls for the ban to be extended are being made in other parts of the country as well. Maharashtra is now asking citizens to observe a cracker-free Diwali.
Shiv Sena's Ramdas Kadam, who is the Maharashtra's environment minister, asked people to think of the environment and give up on crackers.
"When we burst crackers on Diwali we pollute the environment by creating carbon dioxide. We should not pollute the environment, we should not burst crackers. Diwali should be free of pollution. That's the pledge the Chief Minister has asked kids to take," Mr Kadam told reporters on Tuesday.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis administered a pledge to students to observe a cracker-free Diwali this year. "CM @Dev_Fadnavis pledges with school children for environment protection. Ministers @TawdeVinod, Girish Mahajan, Ramdas Kadam, @JaykumarRawal were present", his office tweeted on Tuesday.
The Congress though disagreed with the minister. "If we aren't going to burst crackers on Diwali, then when will we use them? Shiv Sena's minister may be following Supreme Court's order but he is 'dreaming' of banning the use of crackers in Diwali in Maharashtra, but his dream will be shattered," Mumbai Congress Chief Sanjay Nirupam said.
The BJP was a divided house when it came to the ban.
While Union Environment Minster Dr Harsh Vardhan deleted his tweets praising the Supreme Court order after getting slammed on Twitter by BJP supporters, Kiran Bedi, the Lt Governor in Puducherry, voiced strong support for the ban. "Feeling very relieved for a noise and smoke free Diwali. No doubt hurts business of crackers but good health does not come without a price," she tweeted.
But Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy condemned it giving it a communal colour. "Dahi Handi Earlier, Firecrackers today, Who knows award wapasi gang might file petition against Hindu cremation pyre citing pollution," he tweeted.
While actors like Anushka Sharma have campaigned for a noise free Diwali, comedians like Vir Das said it was great for children to have a healthy Diwali and took it upon himself to educate those who questioned the ban, like author Chetan Bhagat.
"Many of these crackers contain chemicals and substances that are banned under the hazardous chemicals rules and they are commonly handled by children which would normally not be allowed. So that's one of the reasons why we need this ban," environmentalist Sumaira Abdulali added.