UP govt calls for celebrating Diwali by using digital technology

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Lucknow, Nov 10 (PTI) The Uttar Pradesh government has directed the police and district administrations to celebrate Diwali in places like Lucknow, Varanasi and others where the air quality index is poor by using laser or digital technology.

In a statement issued here on Tuesday, the government said as per the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the air quality index (AQI) of Muzaffarnagar is “poor”, while that of Agra, Varanasi, Meerut and Hapur is “very poor”.

The AQI of Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Moradabad, Noida and Greater Noida, Baghpat and Bulandshahr is in the “serious” category, it said.

'Complying with the orders of the NGT, orders have been issued to celebrate Diwali in these districts using new technology like laser or digital technology,' the statement said.

The state government said the districts where the AQI is moderate or better, only green crackers should be sold. Laser or digital technology should also be encouraged in these districts.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said instructions have been issued to the police and administrative officials to follow the NGT orders.

The NGT had on Monday imposed a total ban on the sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) from the midnight of November 9 to the midnight of November 30.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel clarified that the direction will apply to all cities and towns in the country where the average of ambient air quality during November (as per available data of last year) fell under the ''poor'' and above categories.

'The cities/towns where air quality is 'moderate' or below, only green crackers be sold, and the timings for use and bursting of crackers be restricted to two hours during festivals like Diwali, Chhath, New Year/Christmas Eve etc., as may be specified by the state concerned.

'At other places, ban/restrictions are optional for the authorities but if there are more stringent measures under orders of the authorities, the same will prevail,' the bench said.

The NGT also directed all states and Union territories to initiate special drives to contain air pollution from all sources in view of the potential of aggravation of COVID-19.