T'gana govt imposes ban on sale and use of firecrackers following HC directions

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(Eds: Recasts, adds details) Hyderabad, Nov 13 (PTI) Telangana has banned the use of firecrackers with immediate effect ahead of Deepavali following a High Court directive to the state government, joining a list of states that have taken a similar step citing COVID-19 pandemic.

The festival is being celebrated on Saturday.

The High Court has directed the state (on Thursday) to immediately ban the sale and use of fireworks by people and organisations and immediately clamp down and close shops which are selling them, a Government Order (GO), dated November 12, said.

Opposition BJP alleged the TRS government failed to protect the sentiments of Hindus vis-a-vis ban on crackers by not effectively arguing the case in the court.

The GO said the court has issued directions to appeal to people, both through print and the electronic media, to refrain from bursting firecrackers, so as to prevent any further deterioration in air quality.

'The government after careful consideration of the matter and keeping in view the directions of the Hon'ble High Court, hereby impose ban on sale and use of firecrackers by the people and organisations, with immediate effect,' it said.

The state police chief, DG of Fire Services and all district Collectors, Commissioners of Police and SPs should take immediate action to close the shops which are selling fireworks throughout the state, it said.

On Thursday, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy had directed the state government to immediately ban the sale and use of fireworks during Deepavali in view of COVID-19 concerns, observing that lives of people are most important.

The court said that much as festivals may be important and serve social purpose, nonetheless, the lives of the people were most important. It was the bounden duty of the state to ensure the lives protected and promoted in a meaningful way, the bench had said.

Meanwhile, state BJP president and MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar alleged the TRS government had failed to protect the sentiments of Hindus vis-a-vis ban on firecrackers.

The High Court has directed imposition of the ban on firecrackers as the state government could not effectively argue the matter in the court, he claimed in a statement on Friday.

'It has become fashionable to make the festivals of Hindus controversial everytime,' Kumar said.

Where would the owners of firecrackers shops go when asked to shut the shops which were earlier permitted by the government, he asked.

He demanded that the government come to the rescue of small businessmen engaged in the sale of firecrackers.

In view of the COVID-19 situation, states like Rajasthan and Odisha had banned the sale and use of firecrackers while Delhi, in the grip of a menacing pollution, also cited the pandemic situation to say no to fireworks.

Two other southern states-- Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, have allowed the use of green crackers during Deepavali.PTI SJR SA SS PTI PTI