Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board on Thursday said people can burst firecrackers for two hours between 8 pm and 10 pm on Diwali, PTI reported.

In the order, pollution control board Member Secretary Rajiv Lochan Bakshi said that only green crackers will be allowed in urban areas of districts where the pollution level is moderate. The districts include Palamu, Ranchi, Bokaro, Ramgarh, East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum, Giridih, Seraikela-Kharswan, Hazaribagh, Dhanbad, Godda, Deoghar, Sahibganj and Pakur.

The order said that in rural areas of these districts, and other parts of the state, crackers emitting a maximum sound of 125 decibels can be burst from 8 pm to 10 pm on Diwali.

Firecrackers can also be burst on Chhath Puja and Gurupurab. While firecrackers can be used between 6 am and 8 am on Chhath, they can be burst from 8 pm to 10 pm on Gurupurab. The order said that firecrackers will be allowed on Christmas and New Year’s Eve between 11.55 pm and 12.30 am.

Those found violating the order will be punished, the pollution control board said. The body’s decision is in line with the blanket ban imposed by the National Green Tribunal on the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-National Capital Region, as well as cities where the average of ambient air quality in November (as per available data of last year) fell below the “poor” category.

An index reading between 0 and 50 puts the air quality in “good” category. A reading between 51 and 100 puts it in the “satisfactory” category, between 101 and 200 in the “moderate” category, and between 201 and 300 in the “poor category”. The air quality is said to be “very poor” when the index value falls between 300 and 400. An index value between 400 and 500 puts the quality in the “severe” category.

The tribunal had said that in cities and towns where the air quality is “moderate” or below, only green crackers will be allowed to be sold. Besides, bursting of firecrackers would be allowed only within a limited time period of two hours during festivals such as Diwali, Chhath, New Year/Christmas eve. The NGT had said the state government would be left in-charge to decide the timings for the same.

The Jharkhand government earlier had banned bursting firecrackers in public places on Diwali in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, but said that a separate set of guidelines for the same in private places would be issued based on the NGT’s guidelines, The Telegraph reported.

Besides Jharkhand, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh have also allowed the bursting of green firecrackers for two hours on Diwali and other upcoming festivals. States and Union Territories, including New Delhi, Rajasthan, Odisha, West Bengal, Sikkim and Chandigarh, have imposed a total ban on sale and use of firecrackers. Karnataka had at first banned the sale and use of firecrackers, but later allowed green firecrackers, according to FirstPost.