Teams from the Chennai Corporation on Tuesday put out fires and seized large quantities of materials meant for burning during Bhogi.
Officials have been collecting fines, ranging from ₹1,000-2,000, from people burning waste in the open, in the last few months.
On Tuesday, owing to Bhogi, civic body officials were directed not to collect fines from violators of the Chennai Solid Waste Management Bylaws, 2019, to “avoid damage to the reputation of the State government” during Pongal season.
However, teams of Corporation officials were directed to put out fires in areas where complaints were received from residents about rising levels of pollution.
“Last year, pollution was very high and flights were diverted. As a result, we planned to make a public announcement of the amount of fine to residents, a day ahead of Bhogi. However, the announcement was not made,” said an official.
Officials formed 46 special teams to control burning of material during Bhogi, in all 15 zones of the city. “We inspected 2,277 places where major fires were reported in the city. We created awareness on smokeless Bhogi for residents,” said an official.
Awareness programmes on smokeless Bhogi was conducted at 5,245 locations. Sholinganallur zone reported the largest number of awareness programmes on smokeless Bhogi. Residents in 2,700 locations in Sholinganallur agreed to celebrate smokeless Bhogi this year, officials said.
A total of 28 tonnes of tyres were seized from residents of the city. Some 7,535 kg of tyres was seized from Kodambakkam, the largest quantity seized in the city. Just 10 kg of tyres was seized in Tiruvottiyur.
The civic body has commissioned pollution sensors at 50 smart poles. But connectivity with the command and control centre has not been established yet, officials said.
“We will have Smart City infrastructure to monitor and regulate pollution in two months’ time,” said an official.