The Delhi government on Wednesday came to a decision to impose a "complete ban" on the sale, use and storage of firecrackers in the national capital this Diwali. In a series of tweets, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the pre-emptive ban was imposed in view of the city’s deteriorating air quality over the past three years.
“Taking into consideration the deteriorating pollution levels in Delhi over the last three years around Diwali time, like last year it has been decided that the storage, sale and use of firecrackers has been completely banned. This has been done to save people’s lives,” CM Kejriwal said in a tweet on Wednesday.
In another tweet, the chief minister added that the decision has been taken early this year to help traders avoid losses. "Last year, the complete ban was imposed late, after looking at the rising pollution levels in the city. Because of this traders had already bought stock and they had to face losses. This time, traders are requested not to stock up on crackers," he added.
However, it was unclear if the recent ban on firecrackers would be in place only during Diwali or would stretch for the entire winter season, when pollution levels peak.
In 2020, CM Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government faced heavy criticism from cracker traders in the city for imposing the ban just days ahead of Diwali, when licences had been procured and crackers had already been stocked up for sale. This resulted in huge losses for traders.
The government had imposed a complete ban on the sale and use of crackers, including the green varient in November last year.
Later this ban was also reiterated by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which said that sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in Delhi and adjoining areas will be prohibited starting midnight of November 9 to midnight of November 30, 2020.
Looking at the deterioration air quality of the national capital in December 2020, the NGT extended the ban to Christmas and New Year's.
Meanwhile, several social media users raised their voice against CM Kejriwal's decision.
In a tweet, a user said, "Arvind Kejriwal will ban firecrackers on Diwali citing Pollution but, will oppose Farm Laws which had clauses to take steps against Stubble Burning! A Third Rated Politician!"
"Arvind Kejriwal govt has banned crackers during upcoming Diwali, citing pollution. Yamuna River pollution is also due to crackers. Farmers burning stubble is also because of Sivakasi workers at cracker factories. Entire blame is due to that one single day happy event. True," another user said.