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The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to undertake a comparative study on pollution caused by firecrackers and automobiles and wondered why everyone wanted to ban firecrackers for causing pollution when automobiles were the biggest polluters.

The apex court said one should also look at the plight and the rights of the people working in firecrackers industries who are now unemployed. “Can’t leave them hungry. We did not wish to generate unemployment. If the occupation is legal and duly licensed how can you stop it?” a SC bench headed by Justice SA Bobde said while fixing the next hearing for April 3.

The apex court had put tough guidelines for bursting of firecrackers during the last festive season, giving time slots for Diwali and Christmas and New Year. The October order sought to strike a balance by refusing to impose a complete ban on sale of crackers. The court had also allowed environment friendly crackers to be sold only through authorized traders even as the government and outfits like the CSIR worked to design green crackers that were friendlier to the environment.

—India Legal Bureau

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