In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ashok Gehlot-led government in Rajasthan has ordered a complete ban on the use of firecrackers to celebrate New Year’s in the desert state.
“Citizens of the state should, like in the case of festival of Deepawali, carry out New Year’s celebrations inside their homes with their families, so that there is protection from Covid-19 infection. This is important for the protection of lives of self, relatives and common people… The apex court has recently issued guidelines, asking states to take strict measures such as ensuring large gatherings are prevented in markets and public places, wherever possible, not giving permission to religious and social programmes. Rajasthan will be that state, which will ensure that these orders are followed,” Ashok Gehlot said on 22 December.
“In the view of the New Year’s, in the next few weeks, gatherings, programmes and bursting of firecrackers, etc, will be completely banned. Night curfew will continue and police patrolling will be stricter on roads and other public places. With an aim to spreading awareness among people, regarding protection from the infection, the local self government department has been given directives to increase the duration of ‘public campaign against Covid-19’ till 31 January. During this, free distribution of masks will continue,” Ashok Gehlot said.
The Rajasthan government had asked the people of the state not to burst firecrackers during Diwali, too. Ashok Gehlot had justified the ban on crackers in the desert state, saying that it goes beyond religious affiliations. The Rajasthan dispensation had decided to impose monetary fine on those indulging in sale and use of fireworks in the state before Diwali. The decision to ban sale and bursting of firecrackers in the state was propagated as a measure intended to protect Covid-19 positive patients and the public in whole. Several other governments, too, had banned fireworks in their states.