West Bengal imposes complete ban on crackers as COVID-19 cases surge

Cases have been on the rise since Durga Puja ended on October 15

As the spike in COVID-19 cases continues in West Bengal, the State Government on Wednesday ordered a “complete ban” on the sale and bursting of all kinds of crackers, except green crackers, before Deepavali and Kali Puja

The order, issued by the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB), said the decision was taken “in compliance with the Hon’ble Supreme Court orders… directions of the Hon’ble Green Tribunal… and also considering the fact that the bursting of fire crackers releases harmful chemicals, having severe impact on the conditions of COVID-19 positive persons and persons staying in home isolation, and considering the latest assessment of the air quality across the State of West Bengal showing that the air quality of the districts and Kolkata is moderate/satisfactory level till third week of October 2021.” Other than the festivals specified by the WBPCB, “prior permission of the district magistrates/commissioners of police/superintendents of police shall be required for use of only green crackers for a limited period [not more than two hours]”.

The bursting of green crackers would be allowed for two hours between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. during Deepavali; two hours between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. during Chhath Puja; and for 35 minutes during Christmas and New Years Eve (11.55 p.m. – 12.30 a.m.).

COVID-19 cases have been on the rise since Durga Puja ended on October 15. On Wednesday, the State registered 976 new cases and 15 deaths in the past 24 hours. Kolkata, which has been registering the highest increase in infections, recorded 272 new cases and four deaths. The case positivity rate in West Bengal as on Wednesday remained at 2.25%. Union Health Ministry officials, in a letter to the State Government, expressed their concern over the rise in COVID-19 cases in West Bengal.

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