We all have heard quite often from people “Diwali mein pathake nahi jalaya toh kya kiya” (What is the use of celebrating Diwali if you have not burst firecrackers) However, keeping the health safety measure forefront, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday evening appealed people to avoid firecrackers this year to reduce pollution that causes respiratory ailments amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of celebrating the festival with crackers, the Minister has asked people of the State to celebrate Diwali without bursting firecrackers.
Tope also said that he will demand putting a ban on the bursting of firecrackers in the state before the Chief Minister and the state cabinet. Though the Uddhav Thackeray-led government has not yet taken any decision to put a ban on firecrackers in the state though they have appealed to the people to keep this Diwali cracker free.
There are other states like Rajasthan, Delhi, Odisha, and West Bengal that have announced the ban on firecrackers. If the Maharashtra government decides to ban firecrackers, it will be the fifth state to do so.
But as they say, there are always two sides to a coin. On one hand, if we talk about the pros of banning crackers then there are many. But on the other hand, the con to it is that the manufacturers of the firecrackers have to suffer huge financial losses if a ban is enforced.
A member of North India Pataka Association (NIPA) told Afternoon Voice, “The business of firecrackers in India is nearly Rs. 50 crores. In Tamil Nadu’s Shivkasi village thousands are employed in this industry and if the government imposes a ban on firecrackers then the financial condition of these people will worsen. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our business is already down. The government had given orders earlier this year hence we purchased the stock. And now this sudden change in the decision will affect our livelihood.”
“The government is playing with our lives. If they had to ban the firecrackers, they could have announced their decision earlier, we could have avoided our losses. Maal aa gaya hein, production ho gaya hai aur yeh abhi ban laga rahe hein. There is no say when it comes to government because they only care about themselves,” said Omkar Birade a firecracker trader from Sanpada.
Afternoon Voice spoke to some responsible citizens to know what they think about the decision of the state governments.
Singer and actor Hitesh Bhojraj said, “I am in complete agreement with the government on this proposed ban. Not only will it help keep the rising pollution levels in check, which in any way is the need of the hour but will also be better for so many patients that are battling this horrible pandemic to not breathe toxins that come out of these firecrackers. On the flip side, I would urge the government to look into the matter of unemployment and losses that will hit the manufacturers because of this proposed ban, the pandemic has anyway taken away a lot from people. A relief package in the form of monetary help should surely be looked into. This Diwali let’s all be responsible citizens.”
Shiv Rajvanshi, a Brand Strategist & Strategic Consultant from Delhi said, “I really appreciate the efforts of our government as they have done many good things for our sake at the time of the pandemic, but if we start thinking like the common man, we should be allowed a time frame to burst crackers with safety measures rather than banning. Because the cracker industry has faced a huge loss due to the ban on firecrackers and also due to pandemic. As the market has started responding now so we should look ahead to our economy, if we can allow to sell liquor then we should also think about them also.”
“As I’m a resident of Delhi, I want to say that the Delhi government is doing a tremendous job for public and also taking many strict steps for Air Pollution”, Shiv added.