Crackers on sale in Old Delhi, traders blame high demand
Vendors found openly selling firecrackers in Old Delhi despite the Supreme Court’s ban say they would suffers huge losses if they don’t do so. They also said there is a huge demand for crackers in the market.
When Hindustan Times visited Jama Masjid area on Thursday, while the wholesalers were closed, the street hawkers lined the roads just a couple hundred of feet away with crackers ranging from sparklers, to chakris, to anars, to rockets. Many of these were being sold at a quarter of the maximum retail price printed on the boxes.
These vendors claim that they had picked up stock worth ₹50,000 to ₹2.5 lakh when the ban on sales had been relaxed, and that they would be hit with great losses if they do not sell them.
After the Capital choked on toxic air after Diwali in 2016, the Supreme Court had in November last year suspended the permanent licences that allowed the sale of firecrackers in the DelhiNCR. However, on September 12, 2017, the court had temporarily relaxed the order, allowing many to stock up, before reinstating the ban earlier this week.
Though the SC order in September had restricted the influx of crackers from outside the NCR, the market already had around 50 lakh kg of fireworks.
“What can we do? We had already picked up the stock form the wholesalers before the court’s orders came through. We also have people coming looking for crackers. You have to understand that we are selling, because people are buying,” said a vendor, who had just finished up a sale with a customer.
Just as the vendors claimed, many people in the region feel strongly about crackers during Diwali. “I had already bought fireworks worth ₹7,000-8,000 before the court had banned the sales. I will definitely burst these on Diwali. One day of controlling such things won’t make a difference. If pollution is the problem why not do something about the vehicular emissions and the stubble burning? Why only Diwali? Why only a Hindu festival is being attacked,” asked Gautam Saxena of Keshav Puram.
Delhi Police conducted a raid in the Bhagirath Palace market area late on Thursday, and found two hawkers selling firecrackers in the area. The police registered cases against them under appropriate sections. “The two, Israeel and Kaleemuddin, were not even shopkeepers with proper shops. They did not even have temporary licenses,” said Jatin Narwal, DCP North.
People buy crackers in Old Delhi on Thursday.