Noida (UP), Nov 10 (PTI) Noida and Greater Noida residents are not upbeat about the timing of the firecracker ban in the National Capital Region (NCR), but hope that the Gautam Buddh Nagar administration and local authorities would ensure strict action to check air pollution.
Damaged and dirt-laden roads, large-scale construction work and commercial vehicles are the major sources of dust in the air of the twin cities, they said, questioning the 'motivation' of government agencies in preventing pollution around this time of the year.
They said measures such as banning firecrackers are welcome but hoped that more serious steps would be taken to end their woes.
The air quality index (AQI) in Noida and Greater Noida has largely remained over 400 in the 'severe' category during the past one week, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which states that such air 'affects' even healthy people and 'seriously impacts' those suffering from various ailments.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered a 'total ban' on Monday on the sale and use of firecrackers in the NCR, effective from the midnight of Tuesday till the midnight of November 30. The Uttar Pradesh government also issued directives to the Gautam Buddh Nagar administration on Tuesday, calling for a strict implementation of the NGT order.
Noida resident Amit Gupta feels that the 'sense of immediacy' shown by government agencies to check pollution around Diwali appears to be a 'mere formality'. He claimed that the enforcement of the guidelines on the ground remained a distant dream.
Referring to the district police arresting three firecracker vendors in Noida on Monday, he said, 'If the NGT has to take such action, why not do it in advance, say two months prior to winter so that these daily wage earners do not put their money in such a risky, seasonal business.' Peeved over the situation, Greater Noida (West) resident Manish Kumar expressed disappointment and alleged that the local pollution control board fails to check the offenders who contribute to dust in his part of the city, also known as Noida Extension.
'What does the NGT do when an overloaded truck runs on the roads, spreading dust and soil on the roads as well as in the air? The NGT is found sleeping when the roads are damaged, full of dust and not cleaned properly or repaired,' Kumar, an office-bearer of the Noida Extension Flat Owners' Welfare Association (NEFOWA), said.
He said he supports a 'Diwali without firecrackers' but also hopes that the NGT orders a similar ban on the sale and use of firecrackers during the New Year's eve too.
'Coming to the ground reality here, pollution is actually too much on the higher side. Its main reasons are dust on the roads due to trucks and dumpers and developers not adhering to NGT norms in construction work,' he added.
Greater Noida resident and social activist Harinder Bhati hailed the NGT's decision and said firecrackers should certainly be banned because pollution is on the rise and causing discomfort to people.
'The district administration and the Greater Noida Authority should take action against those who are causing pollution in the city and openly violating the rules of the NGT,' he said.
On their part, Noida Authority and Greater Noida Authority officials said measures such as sprinkling water on the roads and installation of anti-smog guns at construction sites are being taken to check dust and offenders are also being penalised.
'To control pollution: Anti-smog gun already installed at around 30 big construction sites and now being installed at heavy traffic points by Noida Authority with the first one installed at Sector 6 and more to follow soon,' Noida Authority CEO Ritu Maheshwari said in a tweet on Tuesday. PTI KIS RC