The Assam Government has rejected the order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to ban firecrackers in Diwali amid the coronavirus pandemic and to control the pollution level.
A bench headed by the chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel on Wednesday sent notices to 18 states and union territories including Assam, Nagaland and Meghalaya to expand the scope of hearing cases on pollution by firecrackers during Diwali.
Following the order, the Delhi Government, Sikkim and other states have banned firecrackers in Diwali but the Assam government on Friday said that they cannot ban firecrackers in Diwali.
Speaking about ban on firecrackers, Assam Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya said, “Bursting of firecrackers would not harm anything. We cannot ban firecrackers during Diwali. People can burst firecrackers which cannot affect the environment but bursting of firecrackers polluting the environment will not be allowed.”
The minister also compared bursting of firecrackers with consuming alcohol. He said that if one can consume alcohol which we think as injurious to health, why people can’t burst firecrackers.
The NGT sought responses on an urgent basis by November 5 from the mentioned states and the Ministry of Environment and Forests on whether the usage of firecrackers would be banned from November 7 to 30.
The plea on which the court issued notice suggested that green crackers will not solve the problem and the smoke from firecrackers will create gas chamber like situations.
The tribunal has already issued notices to Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana, while, it has observed that Rajasthan and Odisha have ordered for the ban on sale and use of firecrackers this year.
The tribunal said, “The scope of proceedings may need to be extended beyond NCR so as to suggest that in all the concerned states where air quality is not satisfactory may consider taking action on the pattern of action taken by the states of Odisha and Rajasthan.”
As per reports, the panel has sought replies from Assam, Chandigarh, Bihar, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal as the air quality in these state is poorer than the permissible limits.