The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) along with state police will take strict action against any person found bursting firecrackers during Kali Puja and Diwali this year. If prosecuted, an offender could get a maximum jail term of five years and be fined up to Rs 1 lakh.

The punishment would be the same for bursting both light-emitting crackers as well as the ones producing sound beyond 90 decibels. 

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The Calcutta High Court and the National Green Tribunal banned firecrackers in November. The Supreme Court has also upheld the judgment of Calcutta High Court, considering the fact that air pollution caused due to bursting of firecrackers may further aggravate the pandemic situation.

Rajesh Kumar, member secretary of WBPCB, said, “There will be four monitoring teams in the city, deployed at all regional offices of WBPCB. The Board has identified some hot spots in Kolkata as well as the districts on the basis of their history of violation.”

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Sound limiters are mandatory for all microphones and use of disk jockey (DJ) is banned during the procession of idol immersion. People can lodge complaints of violations at the toll-free number 18003453390, or through the Paribesh App that was launched by state PCB last year. Complaints can also be lodged through the Twitter and Facebook pages of WBPCB.

Environmental activists are, however, concerned about the PCB or the environment department’s failure to issue a circular or order for implementing the orders.