‘To curb pollution’, SGPC to fire more crackers in curtailed time

While SGPC authorities have cited pollution control as the reason for their decision to curtail the duration of the firework display - to celebrate Bandi Chhor Diwas and Diwali on Tuesday - from 15 minutes (last year) to 10 minutes, but as things stand the celebrations may only speed up the rate of pollution.

While SGPC attributed the cut in duration of firecrackers show to rising pollution, the authorities, however, did not reveal that that the order for firecrackers has cost 15 per cent more than it did last year. Sources said that while last year, the SGPC had placed an order worth Rs 1.40 lakh to four firecracker suppliers (Rs 35,000 each), this time the order is to the tune of Rs 1.60 lakh (Rs. 40,000 per firecracker supplier).

SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar and Golden Temple manager Harbans Singh Malhi blame inflation for the enhanced order. But, experts say even if inflation is taken into account, it still means that the amount of firecrackers will remain almost same as last year. In effect, that would mean that any cut in duration would cause the same amount of pollution in lesser time.

Both Makkar and Malhi, when contacted, justified the hike in order saying that about 10 percent hike was but natural. But, in this case, the hike is nearly 15 percent.

"We would speed up the process to complete the fireworks show in 10 minutes," said Jagtar Singh, a fireworks supplier, when asked how they would manage the show as compared to 15 minutes last year.

"Since it is a religious occasion of utmost importance, we charge nominal money. From others, we may charge Rs 1 lakh or even more for the same quantity of firecrackers for which we are charging Rs 40,000," said another supplier Avtar Singh.

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