Delhi's air quality is expected to deteriorate to 'severe plus emergency' category after Diwali. Air quality will be "bad" on November 8 even if "partial toxic crackers" are burned compared to last year, the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) has said.
A day ahead of Diwali, the Delhi police said on Tuesday that it was “fully prepared” to implement the Supreme Court order on green crackers as well as the timing fixed by the court for bursting these crackers.
“We are fully prepared. We have formed various teams which will be deployed on Diwali day to monitor the situation. Policemen would be deployed in plainclothes too,” Delhi police Spokesperson Madhur Verma told IANS.
He said action would be taken against those found violating the Supreme Court order either by burning crackers after 10 p.m. or using polluting crackers.
“In the first place we are not allowing the sale of crackers in Delhi. We have not issued any licences this year. Action is being taken against those trying to illegally sell polluting crackers. Around 30 cases have been registered so far against people selling illegal firecrackers as well as against those bursting these,” he added.
The officer said that the police department also held meetings with the public to create awareness about the apex court order.
Last week, amid projections of worsening pollution in Delhi-NCR, the Supreme Court held that only green crackers would be sold in Delhi-NCR this Diwali. The traditional ones already manufactured could be sold in other parts of the country for this season, the court said.
The top court restricted the bursting of crackers between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m on Diwali.
The apex court also reiterated its direction of barring the use of barium salts to make crackers.
The Supreme Court-empowered Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority or EPCA on Tuesday banned the entry of trucks into Delhi between November 8 and November 10.
The trucks carrying essential commodities, will, however be exempt from the ban, the EPCA said in the directive issued to the Chief Secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi.
In a letter to the states, the CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) directed all authorities, particularly the police, apart from the transporters, to coordinate action on its order so that “trucks are turned around before they enter Delhi”.
It has also asked the authorities concerned in the states to request people to desist from using diesel cars during this period.
“The air quality forecast from the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) of the Ministry of Earth Sciences and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) says that the period post Diwali — November 8 onwards, could see a sharp deterioration in air quality because of low dispersion and winds from the northwest, which will bring emissions to the region,” EPCA Chairman Bhure Lal said in a letter.
“Based on this forecast and the recommendations received from the CPCB-headed Task Force, EPCA is directing this additional action (banning trucks’ entry). All other measures, as directed by EPCA on October 27 and 31 must be strictly enforced,” the letter said.
People in Tamil Nadu celebrated Diwali with traditional fervour, starting off with special sesame oil bath, wearing new clothes and bursting fire crackers, while police registered cases against several of those who violated the cracker bursting time slot ordered by the government.
Unlike previous years though the sound of the bursting of firecrackers was rather subdued following the Supreme Court-imposed restrictions.
The state government had permitted firecracker bursting from 6 to 7 a.m and 7 to 8 p.m on Tuesday.
So, while the customary greetings and queries among friends and relatives would previously be “Ganga Sthanam Aachha?” (had your bath with the holy water of river Ganga?), this time round it was “did you burst firecrackers?”
“We got up early had our oil bath. The morning round of firecracker bursting got over,” J. Muralidharan, a public sector employee, told IANS.
Neighbours exchanged sweets, savouries and the special Diwali Leghium – a herbal jam.
There was a large number of devotees at the temples offering prayers on this special day.
Meanwhile, the state police registered cases against those who violated the government order specifying the two-hour time slot (6 to 7 a.m and 7 to 8 p.m) for bursting of crackers in line with the Supreme Court-imposed restrictions.
The police said cases have been registered for violation of cracker bursting time in Coimbatore, Tirupur, Tirunelveli, Villupuram and other places.
According to them, the final number of cases booked will be known only on Wednesday. (IANS)