New delhi 23.10.2019. Diwali is going to be quiet this year, with only two types of firecrackers declared legal by the Supreme Court. The green version of “anar” and “phuljhari” both happen to be silent. The rest, rockets, bombs and other noisy crackers are all banned, the police said, warning that during purchase, one must check the official stamp.
The stamp includes a QR code that can be stamped and a government stamp. The anar and phuljari come in 2 colours. A box of 50 “phuljaris” or five “anars” come for Rs. 250.
“Only green crackers are allowed and we have constituted teams to check these sellers. If anyone is found selling any other type of crackers, legal action is being taken,” said MS Randhawa, the spokesperson of Delhi Police.
The government claims the green crackers, as they are called, emit 30 per cent less air pollution – a matter that has increasingly become a concern for Delhi and its neighbouring areas with the approaching winter.
Over the last week, the air quality in Delhi has turned “poor” as the wind direction changed to northwesterly, bringing in smoke from stubble burning in the neighbouring states.
The crackers were developed last year, but not in time for bulk production before Diwali.
“These crackers will have 25 to 30 per cent less of particulate matter and 50 per cent less sulphur-dioxide,” Union minister Harshvardhan, who held the environment portfolio at the time, had said.
The project was undertaken by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research after the top court, following spiralling pollution levels every Diwali, ordered that nothing but crackers with low emission levels would be allowed. The order came in response to a group of petitions demanding a countrywide ban on firecrackers.
In 2016, the Supreme Court had banned the sale of firecrackers in the National Capital Region in response to a petition from three children.
In September 2017, the court had temporarily suspended the ban, advocating a “graded approach”. But a month later, the ban was back in place.