Hyderabad: In a significant move, the Telangana High Court, on 12 November, gave orders prohibiting the sale and use of crackers during Diwali which will be celebrated on 14 November this year.

The court, while dealing with a PIL filed by advocate Indra Prakash, issued directions to the Telangana government in view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Prakash informed the court that bursting crackers during Diwali would aggravate people's respiratory problems and that the situation has become aggravated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taking into consideration the issues raised by the petitioner, the High Court directed the state government to immediately ban sale of crackers and close down all shops which have started selling them.

The court also reminded that Rajasthan High Court had already banned crackers in the state. In West Bengal the High Court had refused to impose a ban but the Supreme Court had intervened and issued directions banning crackers during Diwali.

Keeping in view these decisions, crackers should be banned in Telangana, the court said. It also directed the state government to register cases against those who violate the orders. Further, the High Court also said that the ban orders should get wide publicity through media and awareness should be created among the public. The court also directed the government to submit the action taken report before the court on 19 November.

Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh government has also restricted the bursting of crackers to two hours to mitigate the possible air and sound pollution during Diwali.

The AP government has issued orders restricting the bursting of firecrackers as per the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in view of the expected rise in air pollution, which could further impact Covid-19 patients.

Only green firecrackers shall be sold, and are to be burst only between 8 pm and 10 pm on Diwali. A distance of 10 feet is to be maintained between shops selling crackers. Customers have been asked to practice physical distancing and stand six feet away from each other.

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