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Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Friday cautioned that bursting or selling firecrackers in the national capital this festival season can attract a fine of up to ₹1 lakh.

Action will be taken under the The Air (prevention and control of pollution) Act, 1981, he said.

Rai’s remarks comes a day after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a complete ban on the sale and use of firecrackers, including green crackers. The ban will be implemented from November 7 to 30.

The Delhi Environment Minister said that he will convene a meeting on Monday to chalk out a detailed action plan to enforce the ban. Representatives of the environment department, Delhi Pollution Control Committee ( DPCC) and the Delhi police are expected to attend this meeting. “While the regular pollution sources in Delhi continue to remain consistent throughout the year, bursting crackers ahead of Diwali and the stubble burning in neighbouring states add to Delhi’s pollution levels. Looking at the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the city, saving people’s lives is more important than the economic aspect of losses borne by cracker traders”, Rai said.

He also announced the setting up of a 15-member panel to monitor the effectiveness of the ‘Pusa bio-decomposer’ which promises to turn farm stubble into manure. This has been promoted as a solution for mass stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, which adds to the foul air in Delhi every winter

The panel will comprise of MLAs, district level officials and scientists from the Indian Agriculture and Research Institute, Rai said.

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