Delhi hit by Covid third wave; no Diwali carnivals, organisers count losses

Arvind Kejriwal says Delhi hit by coronavirus third wave

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Terming the sudden spike in coronavirus cases in Delhi as the "third wave" of the pandemic, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday assured the people that there is no need to panic as the AAP government is closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation in the city.

People flouting social distancing norms throng at Sadar Bazaar market ahead of Diwali Festival, in Delhi on Wednesday.

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The national capital has been witnessing a fresh surge in coronavirus cases. On Tuesday, Delhi recorded over 6,000 fresh Covid-19 cases for the first time.The city recorded over 5,000 daily cases for five days on the trot, ending Sunday when the count stood at 5,664.

Environment Minister Gopal Rai launches anti-cracker campaign across Delhi to curb pollution levels in the city

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The National Green Tribunal on Monday issued notices to the Environment Ministry, Delhi government, pollution control agencies, and neighbouring states seeking their stand on whether the use of firecrackers should be temporarily banned from November 7 to November 30 in the interest of public health and environment.

Use of green crackers will not remedy the situation

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People buying green crackers ahead of Diwali Festival in Old Delhi

The NGT was hearing an application, filed by the Indian Social Responsibility Network through Santosh Gupta, raising the issue of air pollution by the use of firecrackers in NCR at a time when air quality is at a 'very poor' level and the potential of worsening the Covid-19 pandemic. Use of green crackers will not remedy the situation.The smoke will choke and may create gas chamber like situation. It will lead to poor visibility, hazy conditions and asphyxia, the plea said.

A vendor waits for customers as he sells green crackers in Old Delhi

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The tribunal observed that firecrackers emit poisonous gases like SO2, NOX, CO and added that in the given climatic conditions, this may result in respiratory/pulmonary diseases, diabetes, hypertension, and other diseases.

No Diwali carnivals this year, organisers and artisans count their losses

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Blind Relief Association staff and workers making candles in New Delhi

Every other year, there would be fairs with rides, food and shopping aplenty, as institutions, malls, individual localities and condominiums organised their own carnivals. Organisers of the famous Sunder Nagar Mela and the Blind School Mela, for instance, both Delhi fixtures for decades, have decided to give it a miss this year. "Unfortunately, we are not holding the Diwali Bazar this year due to the pandemic. Considering the government's directives and the safety and well being of our customers and staff, we had to call off the bazaar," C P Mohanan, deputy executive secretary of the Blind Relief Association, told PTI. The decision was not easy for the Association, which also has a hostel for the blind in its premises. The annual fair is its biggest fundraising event and contributes almost "40-50 per cent" of its annual expenses.The candles and diyas made by the blind students are a big USP and many people, who make it a point to buy from just the Blind School, have bought them online instead.

Potters prepare Diyas (earthen lamps) inside their house at Kumhar Gram, in New Delhi

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It's not just about dampening festive spirits or a monetary loss for organisers. For hundreds of craftspersons, it is also about livelihood.

Read our full coverage on Diwali

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