Curb Carelessness, Prevent Tragedy
What is supposed to be a happy occasion and a time for celebration sometimes turns tragic for many families because of human carelessness. Thousands of fire-related incidents, including burn injuries and even deaths, are reported across India every year, and this year is no exception. In a tragic fire incident, five members of the same family, including parents and three children, were killed in Dimapur on Diwali night (Sunday). Though the exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, fingers have been pointed to the diyas and firecrackers used as part of the celebration. Sadly, hundreds of incidents were reported during the festive occasion. A few disturbing video clips of speeding cars running into pedestrians and revellers on the street have also enraged internet users, but such incidents during festivals, often associated with drunken driving, are not uncommon and may repeat. While the authorities need to step up in terms of vigilance and enforcement of laws, the public should also learn to celebrate safely. Carelessness and disrespect for the law can not only invite trouble for themselves but also for others. For instance, the Dimapur district administration had issued an order ahead of Diwali restricting the use of certain kinds of fireworks to burst firecrackers only till 10 pm and prohibiting it at designated silence zones like healthcare centres and educational institutions. But did the people adhere to this directive? The answer is a big NO. You could hear the loud sound of firecrackers throughout the night and well after the occasion was over. Will the people adhere to the “11:55 pm to 12:30 am” window given by the authorities to burst firecrackers on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve? Such directives had fallen on deaf ears in the past. This time, the people of Nagaland should prove the doubters wrong.
One issue that people often overlook is noise. Besides air pollution, firecrackers that make loud noise are a nuisance. The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000 has set the permissible noise level for industrial, commercial, residential, and silence zones. It says the state government should take measures for abetment of noise emanating from vehicular movement, blowing of horns, bursting of firecrackers, use of loud speakers, etc. The noise level at the boundary of a public place (noise source) is set at 10 dB(A) or 75 dB(A), whichever is lower, but a lack of clarity in the demarcation of zones appears to be hampering the law enforcement agencies to implement the rules. The government should address such loopholes, including sanctions for offenders, to effectively curb the menace. The deafening sound emanated by horns used in some vehicles, especially transport vehicles, is another serious issue that needs to be looked into. The authorities should not allow any vehicle to tamper with silencers, as well as ban the production of violative firecrackers.