Based on time restrictions imposed by the State government, Collectorate and Municipal Commissioner on cracker bursting amid the COVID-19 pandemic, those who were found violating the norms were booked under Epidemic Control Act, 1897 and Disaster Management Act 2005.
Firecrackers were permitted to be burst only between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the smoke emitted from the crackers could trigger breathlessness and breathing difficulties for patients, and non-COVID asthmatic patients.
Meanwhile, Mira Bhayandar – Vasai Virar Police booked 39 persons for bursting crackers beyond the permitted time. “We warned the people through patrolling throughout the stipulated time, and when it was beyond that time, we booked them for violating the cracker bursting norms,” said Amit Kale, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 1, MBVV.
“Under the guidance of Commissioner Sadanand Date and Additional Commissioner S Jayakumar, we formed a team led by ACP Dr Shashikant Bhosle to check the violation of the norms,” said Kale.
“Police were ordered to book the violators and penalised them accordingly. As we had arrested them in bailable offences, they were released on bail on the same day,” said the DCP.
However, DCP said that they will be charge-sheeted later.
Police registered 10 cases at Bhayandar Police Station against 13 people whereas Navghar Police booked 07 violators in 07 cases. Four cases registered against 08 people at Mira Road Police Station while Kashimira Police booked 05 people in three cases. However, Naya Nagar Police filed six cases against 06 persons. In total, 39 people booked in 30 cases at five police stations.
A large section of the public was unaware of the restrictions as people continued to burst crackers throughout the day, even after midnight. “People were bursting everything from loud bombs to crackers emitting large extent of smoke. The people have forgotten that COVID is still around,” said Dhiraj Parab, an environmentalist and a senior journalist.
Piles of paper and plastic bags were found strewn across the twin-city, Mr Parab said. “Even though the MBMC has issued the guidelines, the people had no information about it. Awareness programmes with warning messages should have been organised beforehand so that people know the intention of the government. The effect on the environment is immense.”