Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Wednesday announced that purchasing and bursting of firecrackers in the city on Diwali will be punishable with a fine of Rs 200 and six months in jail.

He added that those who manufacture and store firecrackers in the city on October 24 could be fined up to Rs 5,000 and put in jail for up to three years. The offenders will be booked under the Explosives Act and Section 268 (public nuisance causing injury, obstruction, danger or annoyance to persons) of the Indian Penal Code, Rai said.

He also urged administrations in other parts of the National Capital Region to limit the use of firecrackers on Diwali.

More than 400 teams have been formed to implement the ban on firecrackers in the national capital. These comprise 210 teams of the Delhi Police, 165 teams of the Revenue Department and 33 teams of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee.

A public awareness campaign will also be run on October 21 to sensitise citizens about the ban, Rai said.

Lower temperatures, wind speeds, and other factors such as industrial pollution add to the problem of deteriorating air quality in the national capital during winters. Often, the Air Quality Index drops around Diwali, when firecrackers are burst.

On September 7, the AAP government had banned the production, sale and use of firecrackers till January 1, 2023 to prevent the city’s air quality from worsening in winter.

On September 30, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also launched a Winter Action Plan to curb air pollution in the national capital. As part of the plan, the Delhi government will install 233 anti-smog guns and 150 mobile units of the device to curb pollution.

Kejriwal had said that the government will also provide bio-decomposer spray prepared by the Pusa Institute Of Technology to all the farmers who burn their fields. The bio-decomposer makes the stubble soft which makes it easier for the farmers to remove the residue from the fields instead of burning them.