| Customers buy firecrackers on the eve of Diwali. Picture by UB Photos |
Oct. 25: Montu chocolate, Samrat cake (green) and Jagmag chocolate junior — the deliciously named trio which emit eardrum-shattering noise have been banned in the city but that does not stop them from being a quintessential part of Diwali cracker menu.
The three are among the several brands of firecrackers which have a bar on them for their impermissible decibel levels but a stealthy understanding between buyers and sellers ensure that they are never out of circulation.
Most, in fact, still flood the market, though sellers make sure that they are not conspicuous on the rack.
Authorised sellers also take care not to display these but a gentle round of query from customers brings them out from their stock.
We have stocks of the Jagmag chocolate junior cracker and people are even buying them. They are safe and do not cause harm if people handle them well, said a firecracker seller in ABC, who declined to be named.
We are selling the Jagmag chocolate junior cracker and though we do not have stocks of the Samrat cake bomb, it is available in Fancy Bazar market. Both these crackers are similar; the difference lies only in their names, said M. Das, a firecracker seller in Bhangagarh.
The Kamrup (metro) district administration, which has been entrusted by the Pollution Control Board, Assam, with the job of enforcing decibel guidelines and checking unauthorised sale of crackers, is not equipped to check violations.
We have constituted a committee at the level of each police station but we cannot keep a watch on each violator. Thousands of crackers will be burst in each nook and cranny of the city and it is not possible on our part to catch the errant, a district administration official told The Telegraph.
A notice issued by the district administration has asked the authorised firecracker sellers not to sell any crackers which emit sound above 125 decibels and 135 decibels.
Firecrackers have been divided into two categories.
While the permissible sound limit for one category has been set at 125 decibels, the maximum sound limit for the other category is 135 decibels.
Moreover, there can be no fireworks in silent zones like hospitals, schools and courts.
People also cannot burst crackers between 10pm and 6am.
Firecracker sellers have been instructed to keep a small fire extinguisher and other safety equipment.
No oil, paints, matches, or any other highly flammable or explosive articles, acids or similar substances, can be kept in the licensed shops.
The district administration will also not allow anyone to set up stall on any highway or public thoroughfare.
The district administration yesterday also issued an order under Section 144, prohibiting people from bursting firecrackers within 500 metres of Noonmati Refinery and the oil pipeline that passes through the city.
But even then many continue to either feign ignorance or deliberately violate these guidelines.