Effigies, cracker ban go up in flames in Chandigarh

Ramlila committees don’t care two hoots about orders | Covid norms go for a toss | Action will be taken: Official

Dushyant Singh Pundir

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15

Buoyed by the statement of a local BJP leader, many Ramlila committees did not care two hoots about the cracker ban during the Dasehra celebrations in the city today.

An effigy of Ravana goes up in flames at Sector 28, Chandigarh, on Friday. Pradeep Tewari

Despite a ban imposed by the UT Administration on bursting of firecrackers in the city on October 12, effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarana and Meghnadh were burnt with firecrackers at several places, including Sector 34, Sector 28, Maloya, Dhanas and Mauli Jagran, in the city.

A display of fireworks at the venue. Pradeep Tewari

Keeping in mind the orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and a possible third wave of Covid-19, the UT Administration had imposed a ban on the sale and use of crackers of any kind throughout the city.

An effigy of Ravana being burnt in Phase 1, Mohali.

In an order issued under the Disaster Management Act, UT Adviser Dharam Pal had said: “These directions are issued as a containment measure to prevent the risk of the spread of Covid-19 due to polluted atmosphere created by busting of crackers.” The decision was taken after extensive consultation with health and environment experts and other stakeholders as toxic air rising out of the crackers was likely to affect the health of people. Therefore, residents must avoid bursting crackers this festive season, the Adviser had stated. Any violation of the orders was to invite penal action under Sections 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of the IPC and other provisions as applicable.

A man clicks a selfie with the artistes dressed as Lord Rama and Laxman in Sector 28, Chandigarh.

However, city BJP president Arun Sood yesterday asked people to use crackers during the Dasehra celebrations. Sood issued a press note claiming that he had met UT Adviser Dharam Pal and various police officers and informed them that the NGT ban was restricted to Diwali only.

Fireworks on display in Sector 28, Chandigarh.

A member of a Ramlila committee said the UT Administration had imposed the ban on crackers just two days before the Dasehra festival. It took more than a fortnight to make an effigy and by the time the ban was imposed, the effigies had already been prepared and it was too late to impose the ban, he added.

A senior official said members of several Ramlila committees had defied the ban and action would be initiated against them as per the law. Moreover, the Covid protocol also went for a toss during the events, as hardly anyone maintained social distancing during the burning of the effigies.

People gather in large numbers to witness Ramlila in Sector 5, Panchkula.

However, effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnad were burnt without crackers at several other places such as Sector 17, 40 and 46. Due to the late permission given by the UT Administration to the organisers and the subsequent ban on the sale and use of crackers, most organisers stayed away from organising the event and it was held at 10-15 places only in the city. Earlier, the Dasehra events used to be held at nearly 48 places.

Devotees immerse idols of Goddess Durga in the Ghaggar in Panchkula

on Friday. Tribune photos: Pradeep Tewari, Ravi Kumar and Vicky

Hospital staff burn Covid effigy

The staff of a private hospital in the city celebrated Dasehra as a symbolic fight against the “Covid evil” by setting up an effigy of Covid on fire. The staff, doctors and local residents, led by Major DP Singh (retd), president of the Senior Citizens Association, Sector 38, used arrows resembling vaccination syringes to put fire to the effigy and to send a message about the importance of vaccination to curtail the deadly virus. The hospital director said during the first and second waves of Covid, doctors, police, health and frontline staff worked jointly like Lord Ram’s army to defeat “Ravana-like Covid evil”. Major Singh said vaccination was the real “Brahmastra” against Covid.

Shopkeeper booked for selling crackers

Rupesh Kumar, SDM (South), ordered the sealing of Garg General Store, Attawa, and an FIR was registered for allegedly violating the orders of the State Disaster Management Authority regarding a ban on the sale of crackers in Chandigarh.


Cracker ban

Ramlila panel members booked

Chandigarh: Members of the Ramlila organising committees in Sector 34 and Mani Majra were booked under the Disaster Management Act after complaints of bursting of crackers during the Dasehra ceremony were received by the SHOs of the areas concerned. The effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarana and Meghnada were burnt at 24 different venues in the city. The ban on crackers went up in smoke as effigies with crackers were burnt. Eyewitnesses said there were heated arguments between the organising committee members and the police over enforcing the ban at some venues. Eyewitnesses said crackers were burst in Sector 56, 28 and 34, Mani Majra and Ram Darbar. Despite an advisory and alternative parking arrangements made by the traffic police, long queues of vehicles and traffic jams were witnessed at most of the venues as the police arrangements apparently fell short. TNS

An artiste in the get-up of Ravana having a laugh on Dasehra in Panchkula. Tribune photo: Ravi Kumar

AQI remains high

Despite the ban on bursting of firecrackers in the UT, the air quality index in the city remained high in comparison to the neighbouring cities of Mohali and Panchkula where no such ban was imposed. The AQI in the city was recorded at 138, whereas it was 124 in Panchkula and 110 in Mohali.

AQI

Chandigarh Panchkula Mohali

138              124             110

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