Odisha government’s ban order on sale and use of firecrackers from November 10 to 30 in view of the Covid-19 pandemic pandemic has cast a shadow of the livelihood of hundreds of firecracker makers and sellers.
Already under financial stress due to the pandemic, the firecrackers makers and sellers now stare at more bleak days ahead.
“I used to earn between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 during this Diwali season by selling firecrackers. This will not happen this year. However, we must respect the government decision as it aims at checking Covid-19,” Rabinarayan Prusty, a firecracker seller of Bhubaneswar said.
Hundreds of families at Paga in Cuttack district and Khurda make firecrackers and earn huge sums during Diwali.
“Health is first and foremost. Yes, it (the ban order) is pinching us hard. But, we must abide by the government ban to protect the humanity,” said Parikhita Sahu, a firecracker maker of Salipur.
The state government on Tuesday said the decision was taken considering the harmful consequences of bursting of crackers amidst the Covid-19 situation and approaching winter.
However, Diwali may be celebrated in the traditional way by lighting of earthen lamps (diyas) and other traditional lighting materials, a press note issued by the Revenue and Disaster Management Department said.
The government sought wholehearted cooperation of people of Odisha in this regard to save lives, especially of the vulnerable population.
Stating that the fire crackers release copious amounts of harmful chemicals like nitrous oxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide, which have severe impact on respiratory health of vulnerable groups, the government said such pollutants can further aggravate health condition of Covid-19 positive persons , including those staying in home isolation.
The order said it is generally observed that elderly persons, children, persons with co-morbidities and others develop respiratory problems during winter. Further, the air pollution with higher concentration of suspended particulate matter (SPM) aggravates the respiratory problems.