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Green activists slam government for illegal crackers after blast at North 24-Parganas' Duttapukur last Sunday

This is fifth explosion this year at illegally run unit, such explosions have killed more than 25 people this year

Jayanta Basu Calcutta Published 03.09.23, 06:29 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

The blast last Sunday at North 24-Parganas' Duttapukur, on the northern fringes of Calcutta, is the fifth explosion this year at an illegally run unit.

Such explosions have killed more than 25 people this year. The Duttapukur blast alone claimed nine lives.


Environment activists slammed the state government and the administration for diluting the permission and monitoring protocol instead of closing illegal firework units despite judicial orders.

Bengal, once known as a model state for noise pollution control including fireworks, is now rattled by a series of explosions in illegal firework units.

Environmentalist Naba Dutta claimed that despite the chief minister’s order to close down illegal firework units after the May 16 blast in East Midnapore's Egra, the administration had not done anything.

He said environmentalists were planning to tag the issue with an ongoing noise case in Calcutta High Court.

A meeting involving senior state government officials led by chief secretary H.K. Dwivedi, as well as sections of firework manufacturers, was held on August 5. A copy of the minutes of the meeting is with The Telegraph. The meeting noted 5,556 fireworks units in the state.

Barring seven that have mandatory clearance to manufacture green fireworks, all others are illegal.

The Supreme Court in 2018 allowed the use of green crackers in the country on select days of the year. Subsequently, the state pollution control board issued a notification stating only green fireworks could be manufactured, stored, commercially sold and used in Bengal.

“…It can be mentioned that the government has not taken any action as per their commitment before the Hon'ble National Green Tribunal, Eastern Zone Bench,” wrote former chief law officer of state PCB Biswajit Mukherjee to the state environment secretary, director general of police, PCB member-secretary after the Duttapukur blast.

After the Egra blast too, Mukherjee flagged his concerns in writing, calling it the "absolute failure of government machinery”.

A bureaucrat claimed that they weren't diluting the process of permissions, only simplyfying it as "lakhs" depend on the fireworks industry for livelihood. An environmentalist, however, asked how the government arrived at the figure of "lakhs" involved in the fireworks industry in Bengal as minutes of the August 5 meeting spoke about a possible 6,000 jobs only in the firework clusters that the government plans to set up.

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