No takers for deadline on cracker-bursting
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
RAJKOT: The Supreme Court directive banning the bursting of crackers between 10 pm and 6 am and restricting their noise level to 125 decibels seems to have no takers, at least in Rajkot. Both children and adults are seen bursting crackers far above the prescribed decibel level and timings.
Rajkot city reverberated with loud bangs of 'sutli' bombs and 'lakshmi tetas' almost till the wee hours of Wednesday. Leave aside the SC order, elders and children alike burst crackers right in the middle of the city's main thoroughfares. V Parth, a 14-year-old boy, when asked whether he knew of the Supreme Court order on the timings replied in the negative. "Who cares for such an order. Diwali is a time for fun and frolic. If we do not burst crackers during Diwali when would we do it," he said.
Even 45-year-old Yagnesh Kotak argued saying, "The Supreme Court directive is ridiculous. People close their shops by 9 pm in Rajkot, come home by 9.30 pm and after dinner it's time to enjoy the festival of lights. No one would ever follow such a directive. It would be ideal for the Supreme Court not to issue orders which people would never follow."
Shamjibhai Varotariya, a firecracker dealer in the city, said, "It is children who usually ask for crackers that make maximum noise. Almost 60 per cent of the crackers sold are the noise-making ones, and this year the market is flooded with such stuff. In such a scenario who would heed the Supreme Court directive."
When contacted, city police commissioner Sudhir Sinha said, "As no central directive was received so far, no action was initiated at the local level except for the normal precautionary measures. However, if anyone is found breaching the normal measures they would be prosecuted."
The police has, however, swooped down on firecracker dealers operating without procuring proper licences from the fire department. So far about 18 such cases have been registered against them.
As many as nine cases of fire were also reported from the city till Tuesday midnight, fire department officials said.
Decibels soared as SC norms on Divali were ignored
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
MUMBAI: While Mumbaikars celebrated Divali with tremendous gusto on Wednesday, the supreme court (SC) directives on firecrackers seem to have been largely ignored. According to residents and social activists across the city, there was hardly any enforcement of the norms to curb noise pollution during Divali.
However, residents in some middle-class localities observed the deadline of 10 p.m. and some police stations did send patrols to stop revellers from bursting crackers beyond the fixed hour.
A resident of Tarapore Gardens, Oshiwara, dialled the local police station to complain about people from the neighbouring colonies bursting high-decibel firecrackers till well beyond 1 a.m. (Tarapore Gardens itself had pasted a notice warning residents to follow the SC directives.) ``No one answered the phone though I kept trying,'' she said. ``As everyone knows, this is a standard practice when the police don't want to take action. Incidentally, the police station is a stone's throw away from the colonies where the violations were taking place. Surely the cacophony didn't escape them. Why then weren't they taking suo motu action as their joint commissioner, law & order, claimed in the media they would,'' she asked.
A Dombivli resident who had read about the restrictions in this newspaper called up the local police station to find out where he could burst crackers, but the police reportedly told him that they had no idea about the rules.
In Bandra (East), residents continued bursting crackers till well past midnight as was evident from the noise. Incidentally, certain Navratri celebrations in this area carried on till well past the SC deadline, and were also telecast live. When the police were informed about this, they maintained that the telecast must be a recording of the last year's celebrations__ though latest Hindi film songs being belted out by the orchestras put paid to their lie. Bandra (East), incidentally, is a Shiv Sena stronghold.
In certain places, citizens took joint police commissioner (law and order) V.N. Deshmukh at his word and dialled the police urging them to take suo motu action.
Sudhir Badami, a resident of South Mumbai, took up the issue of `mals' (a chain with as many as 5,000 crackers) with the Gamdevi police station, but they were slow to react to his complaint.
At some police stations, officers had no clue on how to take action against those flouting the SC directive. For example, an officer from the Samata Nagar police station had called up the headquarters a few days ago after they caught a vendor for selling crackers without a licence. ``We wanted to find out the sections under which we could book the offender,'' he said. Finally, the police charged him with a minor offence under the Bombay Police Act and let him go after making him paying a small deposit.
Another officer said, ``We found people bursting crackers well beyond the deadline, but since it was Divali, a festival to rejoice, we did not want to dampen their spirits. At the most, we warned the persons not to burst crackers in silent zones and on the road.'' Surprisingly, this policeman admitted to this newspaper that he was not serious about taking action against those bursting crackers till late in the night.
SC directive goes up in smoke
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
LUCKNOW: The hoopla surrounding the directives of the Supreme Court on maintaining a certain noise level of fire crackers, claims of police preparedness, talks of hand-held ‘samplers’ went phut in the booms and the bangs that went on well past midnight on Diwali night.
Red-faced district officials while claiming that they had succeeded in preventing cacophony characteristic of Diwali in past years conceded that in many localities of the state capital youngsters had cocked a snook at the SC directives — both in terms of the decibel level and the time-frame set for exploding crackers.
Likening the SC directive to the SC banning smoking in public places, a senior police official added that in absence of any proper training and awareness amongst the cops it had become “nearly impossible to enforce the SC order”.
Moreover, with the Diwali festivities so closely identified with religion and Ram — the lucky mascot of the ruling establishment— the approach from day one was ham-handed, a district official pointed out.
“With an apparent fear of hostility from citizens if they were prevented from bursting crackers, we had been asked not to be over-zealous in our efforts”, a cop said.
Talking to Times News Network on Friday, senior superintendent of police BB Bakshi said that their preparedness had acted as a deterrent but admitted that flouting of court orders was reported from some places.
According to reliable sources, the police detected that deadline for bursting crackers — between 6:00-10:00 pm — was flouted in areas like Chowk, Narahi, Indirangar, Vikasnagar, Havelock road, Jankipuram, parts of Aminabad, La Touche road, Chinhat, Aashiana and most other parts of the city heartland also.
According to some officials of the UP Pollution Control Board, noise levels in areas like Hazaratganj, Indiranagar and Mahanagar were reported to have far exceeded the normal level.
In Aliganj and some parts of the Kursi road, the decibel levels swung between normal to ‘fairly average’, according to an official.