Ahead of festival, India strengthens drive against imported firecrackers

The Supreme Court has banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi and NCR region on Diwali. (Representative image) Photograph:( Getty )

WION New Delhi, India Oct 19, 2016, 01.37 AM (IST)

Ahead of India's festival of Diwali, the government of the country's capital Delhi has increased its vigil against imported firecrackers, ordering inspection teams to search markets and godowns more frequently.

In a review meeting attended by senior government and police officials, environment minister Imran Hussain directed strict action against those found violating the norms, India's news agency PTI reported.

The minsiter also ordered that court orders regarding the prevention of noise pollution --- especially relating to the complete ban on bursting of sound emitting firecrackers between 10pm to 6am ---  would have to be enforced.

District-wise inspection teams, of senior administration officers and engineers, constituted for checking the availability of firecrackers in the market, have been asked to increase the frequency of their inspections, the environment ministry said in a statement.

"The team(s) of officers from Licensing Unit constituted to check godowns randomly for availability of imported firecrackers in the market should augment their vigilance and field visits," the statement added.

The crackdown against imported firecrackers specially targets imports from China, an ally of Pakistan, with which India's relations have deteriorated after the Uri attacks in Kashmir. China has repeatedly blocked India's efforts at international forums for action against terrorist groups operating out of Pakistan.

The sale of Chinese crackers is likely to go down by 30% this Diwali, a traders body, Sale of Confederation of All India Traders, recently said in a statement.

Pollution levels in the city shoot up after Diwali. Last year, the air quality had deteriorated to "severe" after celebrations with pollution levels rising more than 20 times in certain areas of the city. Noise pollution was also high in most parts of the city.

(WION with inputs from PTI)