|Karnataka bans firecrackers amid covid crisis|
Karnataka bans firecrackers amid covid crisis
Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Friday said the state has decided to ban firecrackers on Diwali due to the aggravating covid-19 health crisis.
"We have discussed it and are taking a decision to ban bursting of crackers on Deepavali," Yediyurappa said on Friday.
The decision to ban crackers is on the lines of state governments like Delhi, Rajasthan, Odisha, Sikkim and West Bengal. Maharashtra has asked people to avoid firecrackers and is still deliberating on a possible blanket ban.
While most state governments have cited covid-19 as the main reason for the ban, the issue has taken a political tone. Several right wing organisations questioned the need to ban crackers and viewed it as a form of targeting Hindu festivals.
India is the second worst covid-affected country in the world after the US. Karnataka is the second most affected region in the country.
Though Karnataka has seen a decline in daily case count, a recent sero-prevalence survey indicates that around 1.93 crore out of the total 7.07 crore people in the state may have already been exposed to the virus.
The sero survey also indicated that several parts of Karnataka including various zones in Bengaluru were yet to see a surge in covid-19 cases.
Karnataka, that is governed by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, reasoned that they could not take chances with the threat of the virus still very potent.
Karnataka has so far recorded 838,929 positive cases of which 33,095 are still active, according to government data. At least 11,312 people in the state have lost their lives to the virus while nearly a 1000 more are in intensive care, data shows.
Delhi, that is witnessing dangerous levels of pollution due to stubble burning and other factors in adjoining states like Haryana and Punjab, has banned crackers till 30 November.
The Centre had also indicated that gatherings during festivals does increase the chances of spreading the infection like in the case of Kerala during Onam.
Tamil Nadu chief minister Edapaddi.K.Palaniswami on Thursday appealed to his Rajasthan and Odisha counterparts to revoke the ban to help save the livelihoods of over 800,000 people in his state, Press Trust of India reported.
Sivakasi and other places in Tamil Nadu account for 90% of cracker production in India, the chief minister said.
"Their livelihood solely depends on the sale of crackers during Diwali season. The ban on bursting crackers in your state can have a direct bearing on the livelihood of over eight lakh workers in Tamil Nadu and an equal number of people engaged in its sale," he said in his letters.
He also said that most of the crackers produced in the state were "green crackers" and would not adversely impact the environment. He also has stated that there was no data to suggest that bursting crackers would impact the health of covid-19 patients.