Amaravati: Many people in Andhra Pradesh are staring at a wet Diwali which has already been affected by the Covid pandemic, bereft of the usual pomp and excitement associated with the festival in general.
The Met department has forecast rainfall in parts of coastal Andhra Pradesh for the next three days.
“This year I am not buying any crackers to celebrate Diwali. We have been told that bursting crackers is not advisable amid the pandemic,” Penmetsa Nagarju, who supplies filtered drinking water on behalf of an NGO in Kallakuru village near Bhimavaram, told IANS.
Though green crackers are allowed, Nagaraju, 30, has decided not to indulge in Diwali pyrotechnics this time.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the state government has issued directives to allow only the bursting of green crackers for two hours on the festival day between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Likewise, the few cracker shops set up in a few villages like Seesali and Kalla near Bhimavaram did not look very happening on Diwali eve.
“We are seeing lesser business this year because of coronavirus. People are avoiding coming out like before. We have to see how it will be tomorrow,” said Boya Krishna Rao, who dabbled into cracker business for the festival.
Rao said it depends on how excited people will be on Saturday when the actual festival begins.
Though not much business transacted on the Diwali eve, Rao did not sound that worried but said that it does take some efforts to sell crackers.
“We have to procure police permission, erect tents, buy crackers from a wholesaler and others,” he said.
However, he highlighted that many people foray into cracker business around Diwali just for the fun of it.
Many people who sell fruits and do other small businesses are known to quickly adapt to selling Diwali crackers.
Despite the toned down celebrations, a few people were seen buying crackers at these shops.
“The government has given permission to burst fire crackers for two hours from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. as per the directions of the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal in view of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Prakasam district Superintendent of Police (SP) Siddhartha Kaushal.
He said the distance between two cracker shops should be strictly 10 feet.
“Sanitisers should not be used in shops selling Diwali items and even during the burning of sparklers, use ordinary soap in place of sanitiser,” said the SP.
He also requested everybody to stay at home and celebrate as the state and the country are undergoing harsh conditions.
“It is so important to follow these precautionary measures taken up for public safety because sometimes small mistakes can cause enormous damage. So everyone should be socially conscious and cooperate with the police,” he said.
Unlike a normal Diwali in which people cheerfully start bursting crackers at least two to three days before the festival, this Diwali is deprived of all that joy.