Firecracker zones will curb accidents
With Diwali upon us, it may be time for the government to start thinking about designating certain spots in the city as 'firecracker zones'. This means that people celebrating the festival with crackers are allowed to burst crackers only in those stipulated zones at certain times, and on designated days
This would be a step not in curbing fun and freedom, as critics will cry, but simply ensuring a safer Diwali for one and all. Now, we see people burning firecrackers on the roads even as pedestrians and vehicles move past in an impossibly crowded city.
Pedestrians have to look sharp, especially at night, as revellers hare across the road lighting atom bombs and the popular rassi bombs, and stand to one side while the crackers go off, often literally at the feet of an unsuspecting pedestrian. Several times, commuters have no warning about lit crackers. Most times they are fortunate, the crackers burst either startling or alarming them, but, at some times they may have dire consequences, with a pedestrian getting injured. Several times, rockets have flown into homes nearby or severely injured passersby because they were lit incorrectly.
This random bursting of crackers is dangerous for cars too. A lit cracker under a moving car, or right in front of a car can result in horrendous damage. Even though drivers are at times cautious enough to stop while crackers are going off, there are times when they cannot halt quickly enough or are taken by surprise. This too, can result in burns, possibly an explosion when flammable fuel comes in contact with a firecracker.
While Mumbai does have a paucity of open spaces that is a drawback the revellers would have to live with. The point is that bursting crackers in a park is still safer than bursting them on public roads. The government might need to think about that. Let Diwali be the festival of joy not a time of tragedy.