Crackers on sale in Old Delhi, traders blame high de­mand

Hindustan Times (Gurgaon) - - Metro - Aru­veetil.alavi@htlive.com

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.

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