The festival of lights triumphed over rain but Diwali was ultimately reduced to a festival of noise. Firecrackers were burst across Kolkata on Monday, and in places like Kasba and Behala, residents said, crackers went off at an alarming frequency.
Police said 77 people were arrested in Kolkata from 6.30am to 8pm on Monday for bursting banned firecrackers. The state pollution control board (PCB) received 15 complaints of noise rule violation from across the state till 8.10pm on Monday. Board sources said the number was an insignificant fraction of the actual number of violations.
A PCB official said that in the city, complaints came from Tallah, Patuli, Garia, Behala, Parnasree and Charu Market. The majority of the complaints were about bursting of banned firecrackers, while a few were about playing of loudspeakers.
Residents of Kasba and Behala said bursting of firecrackers started around 4pm and the frequency increased with time. Only green crackers, which can be identified by scanning a QR code on the packet with the “CSIR-NEERI Green QR Code” mobile app, were allowed to be burst on Diwali, from 8pm to 10pm. The approved firecrackers should not produce more than 90 decibel of sound at 5 metre from the point of explosion.
“I could hear the sounds of firecrackers being burst once or twice every minute,” said a resident of Kasba’s Haltu. A man in his 50s who was traveling from New Alipore to central Kolkata heard sounds of firecrackers going off in New Alipore’s Buroshibtala and in Jadubabur Bazar in Bhowanipore.
“The last two years, when people were worried about Covid, were much better in terms of noise,” said a man who lives close to the Rashbehari connector.
The situation was slightly better in Salt Lake, Lake Town and Baguiati, though residents said there were stray incidents of bursting of banned firecrackers.
A senior officer of the Bidhannagar commissionerate said they had received a few complaints about bursting of banned crackers from Rajarhat and Narayanpur.
Teams were sent to the spots.