On October 23, 2018, the Supreme Court Of India had passed an order, which stated that crackers can only be burst between 8 PM to 10:00 PM in India. The apex court also limited the sale of fireworks to only green crackers. The Tamil Nadu government later went to court seeking permission to burst crackers between 4 AM to 6 AM in the morning. The apex court changed its order and left it for the State Governments to decide which two hours are allowed to burst crackers. During Christmas and New Year, the court said, one can burst crackers for a period on an hour between 11:30 to 12:30 midnight.
In Silchar traditionally, crackers are burst right after sunset which was 4:35 PM yesterday. The city was well lit, all were celebrating the auspicious occasion of Diwali and Kali Puja. Fireworks kicked off at around 5:00 PM and continued till midnight. However, the decibel level dropped after 10:00 PM. While the Supreme Court order was ignored, the sound pollution was a lot better than the previous years.
Meter boxes were placed in six different junctures in Silchar, in Office Para the decibel levels were recorded between 64 to 77. Ambicapatty, the lowest recorded decibel was 75 and the highest happened to be 81. Janiganj, famous for the bursting of crackers witnessed decibel levels between 78 and 87. Near Silchar Medical College and Hospital, in Ghungoor it was between 71 and 78, Tarapur recorded between 71 – 81 and Itkhola witnessed a 78 – 84 decibel of noise on Diwali nights. The average turns out to be between 73 and 82 decibel, which is much lower than the previous years.
There were police officials stationed in various parts of the city to ensure safe and secure Diwali. This year, they were also responsible for ensuring that the court order is followed too. As many as seven were arrested for violating court orders and bursting crackers after 10 PM.
Deputy Commissioner of Cachar, S Lakshmanan told the media, “There is a huge excitement in people during Diwali and they burst crackers with ecstasy. We have tried our best to follow the court orders, but at the end of the day it is up to the residents to think about nature and the environment.”
More than 1500 cases were filed in Tamil Nadu for the same violations and over 10,000 across the country. So the violation of Supreme Court order was not only observed in Silchar but was a phenomenon all over the country.