Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday said that people in the state would be allowed to burst firecrackers for two hours on Diwali. The announcement came two days after the state government decided to impose a complete ban on the sale of firecrackers ahead of the festival.

“In Haryana, people will be allowed to sell and burst crackers for two hours on Deepavali,” Khattar tweeted. “These decisions have been taken in compliance with the guidelines issued by the National Green Tribunal in the wake of increasing air pollution.”

The chief minister said that in view of the increasing air pollution, there has been an increase in the number of infected patients. “This decision has been taken in view of reducing pollution and preventing the spread of corona infection,” he wrote in another tweet.

Khattar had on Friday said that the ban was taken to prevent the risk of spread of the coronavirus infection due to the pollution caused by firecrackers.

The Karnataka and Chandigarh governments also took similar decisions on Friday, followed by Delhi, Odisha, Rajasthan, Sikkim and West Bengal administrations who had made the announcements earlier. Several experts have pointed out that air pollution can add to Covid-19-related mortality.

On Monday, the National Green Tribunal issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests and state governments of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan on the ban of firecrackers from November 7 to November 30 in the interest of public health and environment.