The Telegraph
Thursday , November 15 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

Pain & penalty for Diwali revellers

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 14: At least 55 persons sustained burn injuries while another 20 were injured in road accidents during Diwali celebrations in and around the city.

As many as 50 cases of small and big fire mishaps had been reported to the fire service stations in the city. Sources said these accidents caused destruction of property worth more than Rs 10 lakh.

Of the injured, 10 have been admitted to the burn ward of Capital Hospital where their condition was stated to be critical. Besides, many people have been admitted to private hospitals in the city. Most of the injured are minors or youths.

“As a cracker did not burst, we went near it to check. But it burst in our hands, injuring us,” said a boy from Nimapara, Jatadhari Bhoi, 14. He along with Damodhar Bhoi,12, have been admitted to Capital Hospital with burn injuries on their hands.

However, sources in Cuttack-Bhubaneswar police said very few people had been fined this Diwali for violating the time and sound limit set for bursting crackers. Barring some isolated incidents of late night cracker bursting, the city fell silent by 10.30pm.

At least 25 people were fined for drunk and rash driving during the festivities.

“As we got information about rash driving by revellers, we conducted checking at various locations and fined violators,” said assistant commissioner of police, traffic, Binod Das.

Capital Hospital sources said around 75 injured persons were rushed to the hospital last night, most of them with minor injuries. “Most of them had burn injuries. Others were injured in road accidents. The flow of patients continued till evening. Most of them had suffered burns on their hands and faces,” said a hospital source.

The fire brigade had a busy time, as around 50 incidents of fire were reported from across the city. A fire brigade official said that around 8pm, a house on Lingaraj Road and a shop in Bapuji Nagar caught fire after firecrackers were burst. “We got around 80 telephone calls in the evening and found at least 50 genuine incidents of fire mishaps. Most of them were minor in nature,” said an official.

The city police, which were patrolling various localities, claimed to have successfully prevented bursting of crackers by 10.30pm. “As our police control room (PCR) vans and police station jeeps continued patrolling with their sirens blaring after 10pm, people stopped bursting crackers immediately,” said deputy commissioner of police Nitinjeet Singh.

The Cuttack-Bhubaneswar police had warned citizens before Diwali not to burst crackers that produce noise levels of more than 125 decibel and to stop bursting crackers after 10pm. The police had, however, planned to relax the rule for one hour and fine the violators after 11pm. But all 40 police vehicles, including PCR vans and police jeeps, were instructed to patrol lanes and roads of colonies sounding their sirens to warn late-night revellers.

Some youths had been detained by the cops but were let off later without fines. A senior police officer said they were minors and had been let off with warnings.

Most people appreciated the police effort to stop bursting of firecrackers after 10pm.