In the large playground at Haral, Champahati in South 24 Parganas it was a novel meeting of sort on Friday evening last. The 3 groups of participants converging there included the makers of firecrackers, the environment department of the government and senior police officers. Also present was Sujon Chakraborty, the Member of Parliament from Jadavpur constituency.
The objective was noble: how to get rid of high-decibel crackers during Diwali. This incidentally is the time of the year when manufacturers in the countryside start making fireworks that are supplied to nearly the entire eastern region.
The meeting was felt necessary since no amount of arm-twisting and cajoling could stop people bursting high-decibel crackers during Kali Puja and Diwali. Not that the general public only suffered.
In the cat-n-mouse game between cracker makers and the police every year after Durga Puja, no one emerges the winner. As much as the police realize they just cannot plug all the leaking holes of supply, the makers too feel the heat of sudden seizures and steep fines by the lawmakers.
The need to meet each other to amicably discuss the issue and thrash out a solution was therefore long overdue. The Haral meeting served the purpose, and yes a solution did emerge.
Hopefully, gone would be days when the ear-splitting noise from the likes of ‘chocolate bombs’ would get the sleep out of your eyes. In their place you could expect to hear the muted sound of ‘aloo boma’ that passed the test at the meeting.
The environment officials came armed with instruments to measure the decibels, and ‘aloo boma’ emitted less than 88 decibels, just scraping through under the prescribed limit of 90 units.
The 500-odd cracker makers congregating in the meeting belted out the promise of not making high-decibel crackers this year. The environment safe-keepers though remained a skeptical lot. They felt the litmus test of their promise would unfold only in the nights of Kali Puja and Diwali. Indeed.
Meanwhile, for sound loving fireworks enthusiast like me, the development is certainly welcome. At least there will be some sound to keep company with the splendor of light. See my story, Dreading silent diwali.
[Collated from ABP, Aug 5]
Photo by Marc Averette [source].