Only green crackers during Deepavali in AP

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Amaravati, Nov 11 (PTI) In line with the NGT order and in view of the COVID pandemic, the Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday said only 'green crackers' will be sold and people can burst crackers only for two hours from 8 pm on Deepavali day (November 14).

The restrictions are to safeguard the health of people who had recovered from the infection and those currently undergoing treatment.

State Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney issued an order on Wednesday in line with the November 5 order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that sought 'remedial action against air pollution due to use of fire crackers, aggravating the menace of Covid-19 and posing higher danger to the lives and health of the vulnerable groups.' Sawhney said the AP Pollution Control Board has been monitoring ambient air quality in 20 cities and towns in the state.

According to the Commissioner for Health and Family Welfare Katamaneni Bhaskar, about 8.20 lakh people had recovered from the coronavirus infection while there were about 20,000 active cases in the state.

'The lung capacity of these persons might be at risk (due to the chemical gases emanating from the crackers),' the Commissioner noted.

He requested the government to issue necessary instructions to restrict the use of fire crackers 'in the interest of the Covid-19 patients (recovered and active) and also in the interest of public health at large.' Accordingly, the Chief Secretary issued an order stating that only green crackers should be sold in the state and the bursting of crackers should be restricted to two hours from 8 pm on Deepavali day.

Mandatory Covid-19 containment measures like physical distancing should be maintained at the shops selling crackers and each shop should be set up 10 feet apart, the Chief Secretary said.

Sawhney advised people not to use hand sanitisers during Deepavali celebrations and instead use normal soap and water.

The Chief Secretary directed the district Collectors, Superintendents of Police and city Commissioners to implement the NGT orders.

Several states, including Rajasthan, Odisha and Delhi, have already decided to ban fire crackers.PTI DBV BN WELCOME BN WELCOME