Ban on crackers in Maharashtra? Minister Ramdas Kadam says Mumbai isn't as bad Delhi, will raise issue with Devendra Fadnavis

A day after the Supreme Court judgment banning sale of fire crackers till 1 November in Delhi-NCR, Maharashtra environment minister and Shiv Sena leader Ramdas Kadam has come out in support of a pollution-free Diwali and said he will take up the matter with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

"The Supreme Court gave its decision that there should not be fire crackers shops in residential areas.
Keeping peoples' health in mind, and there should be no pollution and for this, everybody should take care," Kadam told reporters in Mumbai.

He said that the Maharashtra chief minister had promised students that there should be no pollution. "Celebrations should be cracker-free," Kadam said.

"I will talk to Fadnavis and request if we can also ban crackers in Maharashtra on lines of the Supreme Court order for Delhi," ANI quoted Kadam as saying.

The apex court had, however, not called for a ban on bursting crackers on Monday, which means those who have purchased firecrackers can still burst them during Diwali.

CNN-News18 reported that Kadam earlier said that they had no intention of banning firecrackers but would discuss with the chief minister if pollution-free Diwali could be celebrated in Maharashtra.

He compared Maharashtra’s condition to Delhi, saying that it wasn't as bad. "We have no plan to ban firecrackers in the state. We will make attempts to create awareness to celebrate an environment-friendly Diwali,” Kadam was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

The Supreme Court had on Monday said that its order of last November banning the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-
National Capital Region (NCR) would continue till 31 October in an effort to check pollution during Diwali.

In September, the Supreme Court temporarily lifted its earlier order suspending licences for sale of crackers, saying a complete ban would be an "extreme step".

Meanwhile, Senior Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, however, said the livelihood of scores of Marathi youth depends on the firecracker business and demanded the government refrain from imposing any ban.

"What great work are you doing by snatching the livelihood when you cannot give them employment. Firecrackers
are burst in 199 countries around the world," he claimed.

"Then why are you dousing the kitchen fire of the poor? Ban on firecrackers is not a solution to stop
environment pollution, " he added.

Raut brought in River Ganges, saying that it did not get polluted because of firecrackers. "This business gives thousands of people their source of employment. Scores of Marathi youth earn an livelihood by putting up firecracker stalls. Shiv Sena gave them space to put up stalls," Raut said.

Voicing his strong protest against the firecracker ban, MNS president Raj Thackeray sarcastically asked whether people should burst them on WhatsApp. He said: "People should celebrate Diwali festival as they have been doing so all these years. Why is there ban imposed on celebrating Hindu festivals only?"

The judgment prohibiting the sale of crackers did not go down well with the traders.

Strongly opposing the ban, traders said, "It's unfair and is infringement of our fundamental rights." Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has urged the government to file a review with the Supreme Court.

"Crackers are not the only source of air pollution in the country. Before putting a blanket ban, there is a need for a comprehensive policy. If a ban is at all needed on burning of crackers, it should be done from next year, so as to avoid a huge financial loss" CAIT's secretary general Pravin Khandelwal told Firstpost.


With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Oct 11, 2017 10:05 AM

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