New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday gave its nod for the manufacture of ‘green crackers’ on submission of a permissible formula by the Petroleum and Explosive Safety organization (PESO) to the Centre by April 30.
Passing this order, a Bench of Justices S.A. Bobde, Shantanagouder and Ms. Indira Banerjee said that upon such approval of new formulation fireworks to the Union of India, the fireworks manufacturers may start to manufacture firecrackers in accordance with the new formulation and after due permission from the concerned authorities.
The Bench said any licensed manufacturer might apply for requisite approval in accordance with the relevant rules and orders. This order shall be subject to such orders after the PESO has granted the approval. These orders shall operate till such further orders that may be passed and shall not be construed to creating any equity in favour of anybody else.
For the present the Bench rejected the prayer made on behalf of the fireworks manufacturers to permit manufacture of fireworks with Barium substitute i.e. Barium Nitrate. This is said to reduce the pollution to the extent of about 25 to 30 per cent. “We are not inclined to allow this at this stage because it appears that the matter is still under consideration of the Petroleum and Explosive Safety organization (PESO) which has agreed to look into the best formulation that may be permissible for manufacture of firecrackers”, it noted.
The Bench also permitted the Tiruchoor temples to celebrate Pooram festival on May 7 and 14 by displaying fireworks to be manufactured with the approval of PESO. “It appears that displaying of fireworks has been an integral part of the celebration of this festival. Hence, we see no reason why the festivity should be suspended. It appears that the applicants-temples get the fireworks manufactured through their own licensees. However, they shall ensure that barium is not used in the fireworks. The applicants-temples must take care that the fireworks manufactured for the festivity are used and retained by them and do not find their way into the market.” The court sought a report from the Centre and posted the matter for further hearing in August.
The court had in October last year banned use of firecrackers across the country to curb rising environmental pollution, allowing only a two-hour window on Diwali and other festival days. While banning conventional firecrackers the top court had, however, permitted the use of green crackers with less emission and noise decibels.
Following the ban the cracker industry has moved the apex court pleading that the ban/restricted use of firecrackers has virtually deprived five lakh families of their livelihood in Tamil Nadu’s Sivakasi district, which is a major hub for manufacture of crackers. The interim order was passed on these applications.