Supreme Court green Diwali order goes up in smoke.

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Government-specified “green crackers” with special logo and machine-readable code are yet to find their way to Jharkhand this year.

The Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling in October 2018, had banned conventional firecrackers and enforced a two-hour limit (8pm – 10pm) for setting them off during Diwali. Earlier this month, Union minister for science and technology Harsh Vardhan launched a set of new “green crackers” to reduce particulate emission by 30 per cent while producing the same level of light and sound effects as traditional fireworks.

The green fireworks are based on formulations developed by a consortium of eight laboratories under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) led by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in Nagpur.

The new crackers have a prominent green logo to differentiate them from conventional ones and a special QR code — a machine-readable code — which on scanning would provide information about the product, including the chemicals and the process used.

The new crackers would see drastic reduction in the level of barium nitrate by replacing it with potassium nitrate.

Most cracker sellers in Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad, however, expressed ignorance about the green crackers. Only few vendors in Jamshedpur who procured a handful of such fireworks from Delhi late this month seemed to have a few packets.

Jafar Sah, proprietor of J Sah and Sons, a licensed fireworks wholesaler in Upper Bazar and secretary of Chotanagpur Fireworks Dealers Association, who has set up a temporary shop in Morabadi in Ranchi, said “green crackers” would be in the market only next year.

“We have read about the green crackers in papers and heard about during conversation with fire manufacturers in Tamil Nadu. But they will be available in market from next year. As it is people are not opting for crackers with more noise and smoke emission. In fact we have ordered mostly fancy items like sparklers, anars (fountain crackers), rockets, chakri (wheelers). We have negligible stock of ladis (garland crackers) and high decibel bombs. As it is this year we have suffered loss of over 40 per cent due to less interest amongst customers. Weather has added salt to our wound,” said Sah.

Binod Kumar Sharma, a cracker seller at Golf Ground in Dhanbad, expressed ignorance.

“We are not aware of the green crackers. Most of the crackers manufacturers in Tamil Nadu do abide by the government directive, especially in terms of decibel level, since last year. As it is we sell more fancy items which emit less sound and smoke, and very few bombs,” said Binod.

In Jamshedpur G Town ground, amongst the roughly 60 temporary licensed cracker sellers, only two boasted of green crackers.

“We found two packets of anars and sparkles from Delhi earlier this week as we were not able to get the required stock from the local wholesaler and had told one of our friends in Delhi to send us a few packets,” said Kaiser Ejaj, one of them. “We saw a green logo and a special QR code, but we are not aware of its exact details. We only know that the prices are the same as the conventional ones.”

Ravi Prasad, another cracker seller at G Town ground in Bistupur, also had a few packets of anars and sparkles boasting the green tag.