New Delhi, Nov 14 : The national capital may be engulfed in a thick layer of smog from early Saturday evening, but that didn’t dampen the festive spirit on Diwali.
Though candles, diyas and electronic lights took the precedent this time amid the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, firecrackers did not vanish from Delhi. Though lesser compared to the previous years, sounds of crackers could be heard intermittently, which was a notch more intense in Noida.
By early evening, roads were deserted across the national capital and markets started to shut down. Most shops which did brisk business through the day downed their shutters before sunset.
In all the societies and residential areas, the prevalence of earthen lamps was stark, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public appeal to buy local products this Diwali. Be it in the diplomatic enclave in Chanakyapuri or the business area of Connaught Place, buildings were wrapped in designer lights.
Because of the raging pandemic, most foreign embassies in the national capital chose to observe a quiet, simpler Diwali this time. In fact, the Russian Embassy chose not to even decorate its building, owing to the pandemic situation.
In the residential areas, however, soon after the evening puja, sounds of crackers could be heard intermittently. When IANS visited Dwarka, it found societies taking proactive stands to not bust crackers. But that didn’t not completely deter all from going to the streets and bursting crackers.
In Laxmi Nagar area, IANS found chakris and sparklers being used by many. However, the high decibel crackers were not in mass usage there.
In Malviya Nagar, markets were draped in lights oozing out the festive cheer. Brisk business was taking place there, even after evening.
In suburban Noida, the sound of crackers was starkly high, particularly after 7 p.m. In Sector 62, IANS spotted youngsters using home-made crackers through innovative but dangerous ways, in the absence of retailers selling them.
Earlier, the National Green Tribunal had imposed a total ban on sale or for that matter use of all kinds of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR from the midnight of November 9 to the midnight of November 30.
By 8 p.m., Delhi’s infamous air quality was ‘severe’ with AQI rising to 421, according to SAFAR.
While Saturday’s PM 10 count was 408, PM 2.5 particle count was 271. Both are tipped to rise further on Sunday as the after-effects of Diwali and simultaneous stubble burning are set to hit the NCR.
Earlier in the day, SAFAR had predicted, “AQI is forecasted to deteriorate further and reach the severe category by evening today. The stubble burning induced impact in AQI is expected to increase from moderate to high for today. Although the level of PM 2.5 is predicted to be at the edge of very poor to severe by tonight, it is expected to be much better as compared to the past four years around the Diwali period with an assumed scenario of nil firecracker emission.”
Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.