20 Oct 0023
Commissioner of Police
Sub: Reg crackers, related safety, air & noise pollution control in upcoming festive months
The recent cracker tragedy at Anekal where 17 workers lost their lives has put the safety issue in the spotlight and forcefully condemned by Hon CM and Home Minister. As you are aware the Supreme Court Ruling 23 Oct 2018 has made specific mention of banning nongreen firecrackers across the country, specific timings 8 to 10 pm for burning green crackers, and specifically no purchase or burning of crackers near schools or hospitals.
While this has been in force for a while, Hon Supreme Court has put onus of responsibility squarely on the Police, specifically the station house officer (SHO), and therefore it becomes even more critical to ensure that police are able to not only implement, but also work closely with the stakeholders to proactively address and prevent any breakage of the law. This is especially critical as it is the SHO which faces contempt of Supreme Court if the rule is not implemented in addition to the Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and Chief of Police. As citizens we have a duty as well – so with other stakeholders, we are keen to support you to ensure that your job is made easier.
You would be glad to know that we work with the police every year on this activity and there has been a steady increase in responsiveness and action from the police department. This year we had also met with the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) on 10 Oct and the Member Secretary Mr. Ray was very responsive & called for a multi stakeholder meeting on the 12th which was also attended by police ACP Mr Vinaya who is at the SSP command center. Specific implementation plans with multiple stakeholders like local municipal bodies BBMP, fire, commercial tax, transportation, AWBI/KAWB (for animals), Health and Family Welfare or present. This addressed the manufacture, distribution as well as the safe practices of buying and burning only green crackers. Working through with all the stakeholders as a task force to create the right impact of a healthier, safer city as per Supreme Court norms is what is urgently needed. The police have a very specific set of duties and is important that we start on this checklist as much in advance as possible. Post Covid, the issue is even more important.
Apart from enclosed circular from the pollution board, pollution check equipment, illegal cracker sale crackdown, police training & awareness across all stations , posters on police stations and Hoysala vans reminding public on green crackers and safety norms, specific awareness on police WhatsApp and telephone helplines, and SHO’s , their Hoysala, Cheetah and team to be informed, trained and available, working with local citizen committees, RWA’s and Apartment associations to ensure that all safety and health norms followed. The elderly, ill, children, asthmatics, covid-compromised & animals need help. Dialing this up on social media, dissemination from the top levels to DCS, ACP, Zones etc is needed. Citizens must have the trust that the police are doing all they can to follow the prescribed safety norms but at the same time ensure people can celebrate festival safely.
In the last few years, the concern has been that several police stations and inspectors do not know the rules to be implemented, what green crackers are and what their role is in implementing the plan. There has been limited awareness creation or checking on cracker sales. This results in a loss of confidence, safety issues and pollution- and worse, even injuries & deaths- which is exactly what we want to avoid. We would request that this be properly addressed and concluded so we can have the privilege of considering ourselves the safest, healthiest city celebrating Diwali this year.
Look forward to your leading this and supporting you in whatever way we can as citizens.
Priya Chetty-Rajagopal & Harini Raghavan
PACT/The Compassionate City