As if the restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court on firecrackers this year were not strict enough, Kolkata Police has announced that those who are caught with banned firecrackers will not get bail. Other then the court order, the Kolkata Police in West Bengal will also be invoking an additional section under firecracker component of the Kolkata Police Act if anyone is caught with banned firecrackers.
“In case of use of banned crackers, we will not provide bail from police stations this year. If required, we will produce the offender in court from where they have to seek bail,” said a senior police officer in the city. The reports also say that 76 kgs of banned firecrackers were seized by the police from Jhinjhirabazar area bordering Kolkata.
This is a very intriguing announcement by Kolkata Police because going by the Supreme Court order, there is no cracker ban in the country for this Diwali except Delhi-NCR region. Although the court had banned the production of conventional firecrackers and said that only low-polluting green firecrackers will be allowed to be manufactured in the country, it has allowed sale and use of already available firecrackers outside Delhi-NCR. This means the non‑green firecrackers are not banned in Kolkata as per the top court order. It seems Kolkata police have either misinterpreted the supreme court order, or they have decided on their own not to allow bursting firecrackers in the city.
It is important to note that the ‘green firecrackers’ that SC has allowed for Delhi-NCR, are simply not available at present, as they are still on the drawing board. It will take years of development and testing before they become commercially available. This means, like Delhi, people in Kolkata will also not be able to burst firecrackers this year if Kolkata Police decides to ban non-green crackers.
The Kolkata Police have decided to raise awareness about the ban of firecrackers among people by making announcements with loudspeakers. WB Pollution Control Board also has taken initiative in this regard, offering to pay for the cost of the loudspeakers that police will use. But they also instructed the police to adhere to sound limits set by NGT while making the announcements with loudspeakers.