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Restricted firework hours 'to affect devotees'

Restricted firework hours 'to affect devotees'

Publication: Fiji Times
Date: October 29, 2004
URL: http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=10751

The hours allowed for the use of firecrackers on Diwali will cause discomfort to devotees, the Fiji Retailers Association says.

The Mineral Resources Department has designated firecrackers to be shot between 5pm and 10pm on Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights.

But the association said some Hindus lit firecrackers before they started their prayers and this could happen at anytime of the day.

"Some believe it is a good omen to light firecrackers before prayers. People have different prayer times on Diwali day," association president Himmat Lodhia said.

He said the law would be restricted to those who decided to pray during the day and light fireworks.

The department has warned anyone found using fireworks outside the allotted times would be in violation of the Explosives Act, attracting fines up to $800 or up to two years in jail.

The manufacture and sale of fireworks in Fiji is in violation of the Trade Standards and Quality Control Decree 1992.

Breach of this legislation can lead to fines from $5000 to $25,000.

The department has urged retailers to follow all conditions on the sale of firecrackers and for parents and teachers to advise children on the proper and prescribed use of fireworks and the risks associated with it.

"The public at large is advised to understand and carefully note that fireworks have no religious connection to any festival.

"Please be wary of the nuisance created by indiscriminate use of fireworks," Commerce Ministry chief executive Isireli Koyamaibole said.

Mr Lodhia said except for the allocated hours of using fireworks, they did not have any problems with the conditions outlined by the department.

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