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Calcutta High Court

Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed that no fireworks other than green crackers bearing QR codes would be imported and sold in West Bengal.

It also said that only green crackers bearing QR codes would be sold at a ‘bazi bazar’ (firecracker market) which is proposed to be held in Kolkata from October 18.

The court directed that representatives of the state pollution control board (PCB) and police personnel will inspect firecrackers which would be sold at the market and the police will seize banned firecrackers which are offered for sale there.

A division bench comprising justices Joymalya Bagchi and Apurba Sinha Roy directed the state PCB and the Commissioner of Police, Kolkata to deploy the appropriate number of personnel in the ‘bazi bazar’ to ensure implementation of the direction.

“Similar exercise shall be undertaken by pollution control board and police authorities to prevent importation and sale of firecrackers other than green firecrackers bearing QR code in any place in the state of West Bengal,” the court directed.

The bench also said that all necessary steps be taken by the police authorities and PCB officials to ensure only green crackers are burst during the ensuing festive season in compliance with the directions of the board.

The court directed the PCB and the West Bengal government to undertake public awareness measures, including issuance of advertisements in newspapers, and announcements on radio/ television/social media platforms, to spread information about restrictions on the sale and bursting of crackers during the festive season and its beneficial impact on pollution and environment.

“We hope and trust that the festival of lights does not become a cause for concern where the demon of pollution poisons our air and leads to irreparable damage to the health of the population at large,” the bench said.

Seeking a ban on the sale of firecrackers in the state, counsel for the petitioner in the PIL submitted that earlier directions given by the Supreme Court in a case have been flagrantly violated in West Bengal.

He claimed that this has resulted in severe noise and air pollution in Kolkata and other parts of the state in previous years.

Counsel for the PCB informed the court that it issued directions on October 26, 2021, permitting the sale and bursting of green crackers only in West Bengal on specified dates.

The traders’ society prayed for permission to trade and sell green firecrackers during the ensuing festive season.

Sara Bangla Atashbazi Unnayan Samity’s Babla Roy hailed the court order in the run-up to the Kali Puja-Diwali festivals when demand for firecrackers soars.

“This is a victory for 31 lakh people involved in this industry. We will follow the high court order and ensure that environment-friendly and less smoke-generating firecrackers are made following all prescribed guidelines. Those who will not follow norms should be prosecuted,” Roy said.

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