New Delhi: Ahead of upcoming Diwali festival, the Maharashtra government has urged citizens to avoid bursting crackers to curb noise and air pollution. This came a day after Mumbai civic body BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation announced that it will ban bursting or lighting of all fire-crackers at public places during Diwali festival. Also Read - Coronavirus: Maharashtra Extends Lockdown Restrictions Till Dec 31, Essential Services Allowed

Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani had said that any violators shall be penalized and the SOPs in this regard would be issued shortly. The ban has been proposed in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the early winter that has set in. Also Read - Defying Odds, 34-Year-Old Differently-Abled Woman Becomes Sarpanch of 2 Maharashtra Villages

An official said that bursting firecrackers would release a lot of smoke and other pollutants which would adversely impact the health of Covid-19 patients and increase the risk of infection among the other high-risk categories like children or senior citizens.

Official sources said even the Maharashtra government is likely to impose similar prohibitions on firecrackers in public considering the grim Covid-19 scenario in many parts of the state and apprehensions of a second wave of the infection that may hit in winter.

Maharashtra currently has the highest cases and deaths due to the contagion with maximum number of active patients in Pune, Thane, Mumbai, Nashik, Nagpur, Chandrapur, Raigad and Satara. The state has recorded 16,98,198 infections till date and 44,548 fatalities since the first case on March 9.

(With agency inputs)