Lax enforcement on green cracker rule in Bengaluru
Even though there is a ban on sale of all crackers, except those certified green, the enforcement of this rule has been lax, over the past three days in Bengaluru.
A reality check revealed that most of the licensed firecracker shops put up in the city’s playgrounds, were selling non-green crackers unchecked. “The rule on green crackers has only ensured the officials made more money in the form of bribes. The rule came too late. We usually buy crackers three to four months in advance to the festive season. A rule implemented on the eve of the festival will only hit us,” rued a cracker seller Prasad R., from North Bengaluru. He also added that on an average certified green crackers made up less than 30% at most of the cracker shops.
Meanwhile, green crackers are costlier and has far fewer varieties compared to the regular ones. This has only led to lack of support for the green cracker drive among the customers. “Burst any crackers, it will cause pollution. Green crackers are only a handful of them and are costlier,” said Preetam, a teenager buying crackers.
Senior police and civic officials, who did not wish to be named, said enforcement of the green cracker rule was tough. “When our officials go for inspection, the shops will only have green crackers, but later sell others too. We can’t be there every minute,” said a senior police officer. Another civic official said the officers on the ground themselves did not have clarity on what was a green cracker and what was not.
Karnataka High Court had asked enforcement authorities to conduct inspections and book cases. Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar had also issued a circular asking for the violators to be booked under Disaster Management Act. City Police and BBMP said they had indeed conducted inspections and booked violators. However, they said data was still being collated and was unavailable yet.
Meanwhile, Srinivasulu, member secretary, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, said the use of fire crackers had relatively come down compared to the previous year. “We have been collating data on Air Quality Index for the festival days of Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The data collated so far clearly shows that the deterioration of Air Quality Index during the festival days is far lesser than the previous years. This indicates the success of the green cracker campaign,” he said, adding the Board will release the data shortly. The rains have also helped dampen the spirits for bursting firecrackers.