Ahead of the Deepavali celebrations, the Tamil Nadu government has put in place timings for bursting firecrackers across the state. For the second time in a row, in line with the Supreme Court order, those celebrating Deepavali can burn crackers in Tamil Nadu only between 6 am and 7 am, and between 7 pm and 8 pm. This year, Deepavali falls on November 14, Saturday. The same rules were applied in 2019 as well.
In its press release, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) said that people will have to obtain prior permission for bursting crackers as a community in an open space. Permissions will have to be sought from the local bodies through residents’ associations. Hospitals, places of worship, places where silence has to be maintained, near slum settlements and areas where there could be fire accidents will have to be avoided.
Meanwhile, Chennai Police Commissioner Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal has warned strict action against those who violate the fixed timings.
The Commissioner was reviewing the crowd-control measures put in place at T Nagar. He also said that an additional 100 CCTV cameras have been installed in shopping areas in Mambalam and Pondy Bazaar in T Nagar, and 500 police personnel have been deployed on the ground. This is to effectively monitor the movement of the crowd. Similar arrangements have been made in other shopping areas of the city.
A group of mothers from Chennai, part of a pan-India movement called Warrior Moms, have been urging people to give up the practice of bursting firecrackers on Deepavali day altogether. Their campaign called #DhoomDhamakaWithoutPatakha, has been gaining support from people like filmmaker V Priya, Dr Arvind Kumar of Lung Care Foundation and Doctors for Clean Air, among others.
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board also said that it would study the air quality seven days before and after the festival in all the corporation limits to keep a strict tab on the after-effects of Deepavali.