With the outbreak of the COVID-19 Novel Corona Virus Pandemic, people have been changing a number of things in their day-to-day lives and as of now, we are living in what is popularly called the "new normal". Face masks, social distancing and regularly cleaning hands with soap and sanitisers, has become part of our daily lives. After an extended nation-wide lockdown of close to eight months, the Indian government allowed some restrictions to be lifted and people to resume their regular activities. These relaxations have been given not because the deadly Corona Virus has been eradicated but more because the economy had been flagging badly and badly needed a lift. Meanwhile, teams of researchers and scientists are racing against time to identify a comprehensive vaccine to put an end to the spread of COVID!

As part of the "new normal", the governments of several states in India had banned the sale and bursting of crackers for this Deepavali, to control the spread of the Corona Virus. This measure was brought in mainly, to avoid the resurgence of fresh COVID cases. This decision became all the more vital, after Kerala is seeing major surges in new cases, after the Onam celebrations. India is currently in the peak of its festivals season, with Deepavali fast approaching, to be followed by Christmas, New Year and the festival of harvest! The Rajasthan government first announced a blanket ban on the sale and bursting of firecrackers for this Deepavali. This was followed by the state government of Odisha too, issuing a similar announcement! Along these lines, followed the Karnataka State government! 

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had written letters to the Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Odisha, requesting them to reconsider their decision to ban the sale and bursting of crackers. EPS had done so, as the district of Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu, manufactures about 90% of all the fireworks, made in India and the cracker ban would affect the livelihoods of about 8 lakh Tamil people. However, we now hear the Karnataka government has decided to take a U-turn on its earlier decision and has given permission for the sale and bursting of "Green Fireworks", which are environment friendly and do not add to the pollution levels! These "Green Crackers" have been approved by the Supreme Court itself. The Karnataka government's latest announcement states, "Keeping in mind the existing situation, there is a need to celebrate the festival in a simple, meaningful and devotional way." The statement also added that "Green Crackers" would be sold in shops till November 16th, in open spaces where social distancing norms can be followed! This comes as atleast a whiff of good news for the fireworks manufacturers from Sivakasi, as the cracker ban in Karnataka would have completely dented all chances of livelihood for the Sivakasi people.