More than seven years after the biannual open air firecracker tests started, have they been reduced to empty theatrics with no impact? Even though a drop has been registered in the number of crackers found violating decibel limits, questions concerning the efficacy of the elaborate tests have arisen.
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and Awaaz Foundation have been conducting these tests since 2006, but there have been no follow-ups on the generated reports. Reason: both say explosives and police departments have been ignoring the reports, and manufacturers get away with violations each time.
MPCB joint director PK Mirashe admitted on Thursday that no action has been taken against errant manufacturers. “We have been sending the explosives and police departments the reports since 2006 requesting action against violators, but they haven’t responded. There is very little we can do as under the law, they are supposed to stop them,” he said.
Convener of Awaaz Foundation Sumaira Abdulali said, “Representatives of the explosives department never attended the tests. Also, under the explosives act, the arms and ammunition department of the police is the licensing authority for firecracker manufacturers. They haven’t taken action against violators.”
Shivaji Park resident Ashok Rawat, who managed to get a silence zone status for the locality through his PIL, said “The two departments have been unresponsive, but it may different this year. The joint commissioner of police (law and order) has promised that cops will be strict about clamping down on bursting atom bombs in silence zones.”