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PCB drive ends up in smoke

KOLKATA, 5 NOV: The massive campaign undertaken by the West Bengal Pollution Control Board and the Kolkata Police against bursting of sound crackers ended up in smoke on Diwali night when groups of threes and fours were seen bursting high-decibel sound crackers such as chocolate bombs and potato crackers (aloo bombs).
While intermittent sound of crackers could be heard all through the day yesterday, the situation turned worse today. The campaign seems to have added to the fun quotient as those who used to burst such crackers openly with their family before, now seem to enjoy bursting them clandestinely. Some people lighted a long string of Kali potka near a police outpost near AB Block in Salt Lake and while the string went on for four to five minutes, the police personnel stood there helplessly.
Ask 13-year-old Anuj Sharma, a resident of Shyambazar, about his Diwali shopping and he would boast of the cracker den he has found. “I bought all firecrackers for my sister from Baazi bazaar and for myself from a local shop. They have several kinds of soundcrackers,” he added.
As the night descended, sound of crackers went up. The inspection teams sent by the WBPCB, to identify banned sound crackers in various places and order their seizure, and the police also claimed that they seized a large number of banned firecrackers and arrested several people. Yet, crackers were burst openly or clandestinely.
Mr Apurba Pal, a resident of Marwari Bagan in Manicktala, said: “We understand about noise pollution. But bursting crackers only one day won’t make much of a difference.” He purchases materials and gives them to another person who makes such sound crackers at home and supplies them to local youths on request.
Meanwhile, the WBPCB has urged the puja committees to immerse their idols between 6 and 8 November. Puja organisers will be allowed to immerse their idols at Nimtola Ghat, Bazar Kadamtola Ghat and Balaram Bose Ghat. About 1970 kali pujas were organised in the city.
No portable microphones or sound boxes will be allowed during the immersion procession.
All the processions will have to pass by the left side of the streets. The WBPCB has asked the puja committees not to use sound boxes and microphones beyond the scheduled hours. Microphones or sound boxes will not be allowed to operate outside the puja pandal and on the main roads.
People taking part in processions will not be allowed to carry sticks or any offensive weapons. Music should be stopped while passing along any hospitals and places of worship during the time of worship. Nobody will be allowed to carry fire during the time for processions.

Soma Basu

Soma Basu

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