Assam’s Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Tuesday that there would be no restrictions on bursting of firecrackers on Diwali as Hindus have the right to celebrate, despite the police announcing a ban in certain areas. He, however, urged the people to exercise self-restraint amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Like any other religion, Hindus have the right to celebrate festivals. With improvement in #COVID19 situation in Assam, we plan no restrictions on celebration of #Diwali including use of #Firecrackers,” the minister tweeted. “However, kindly remember, self-restraint is key to combat #COVID19,” he added.
Issued during the day, Guwahati central police district’s Deputy Commissioner Rajveer prohibited the use of fireworks and bursting of crackers within 500 metres radius from the Guwahati Refinery in Noonmati area of the city, Oil India pumping stations and oil pipelines in the district. The order, which comes into force with immediate effect, also prohibits fireworks in the ‘Silence Zone’ areas of the central district.
Only use of green firecrackers are allowed in non- prohibited areas between 8 pm to 10 pm on Diwali night as per the orders of the Supreme Court, Rajveer said. According to an order issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the cities and towns where air quality is ‘moderate’ or below, only green crackers can be sold and the timings for use and bursting of crackers should be restricted to two hours during festivals such as Diwali, Chhath, Guru Parab, Christmas and New Year’s eve.
The air quality in Guwahati usually remains in the ‘moderate’ category.