Delhi Traders Rue Falling Sales Of Firecrackers

By Joymala Bagchi

The sale of firecrackers at the largest wholesale market, Sadar Bazar is hitting a down graph with at least an average loss of 50 to 60 per cent with sellers in the market requesting the National Green Tribunal (NGT) not to ban crackers.

In Sadar Bazar, only 10 shops have received the certificate to sell green crackers (that causes less pollution comparatively and are allowed by the government). During the last four years, the number of shops dealing with firecrackers massively decreased from 70 to now at 10.

Along with the ongoing pandemic and daily deteriorating Air Quality Index (AQI), there has been an increase in the variety of items available in green crackers, which last year, was only three to four.

Speaking to ANI, Harjit Singh Chhabra, General Secretary, crackers Association, Sadar Bazar said, “mandatorily all the ten firecrackers shops at Sadar Bazar are selling green crackers, however, the overall selling percentage is very poor and this is hitting us directly after almost no work for six months.”

Chhabra in addition said, “I want to request National Green Tribunal not take any such steps like banning because for us it is a matter of livelihood. We would be devastated. Ban tobacco instead. Govt has opened liquor shops too after it was banned during the lockdown. We ask them not to bring us on roads.”

Twenty-three states and union territories were issued notices by NGT regarding the imposition of ban on firecrackers in the interest of public health and environment amidst the spiking pollution crisis and Covid-19 pandemic. The plea sought their stand on whether the use of firecrackers be banned from November 7 to 30 on Wednesday.

Similar notices were issued to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and four State governments on November 2.

A response was sought from MoEF, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi Pollution Control Committee, Police Commissioner of Delhi and the governments of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan on this.

It is estimated that the firecracker industry with its new norms has the involvement of more than 50 thousand workers or more from making the cracker till packaging.

SN Chawla owner of a firecracker shop at Sadar said, “since the last few years we are facing hardships. We understand the crisis we are going through be it health or environment but we all are selling green crackers only. Last two years we had only three-four varieties and this year we have items but no customers. It’s not only about us but it’s about the livelihood of thousands.”

Among most popular items sparkler, charki, flowerpot, bullet bomb and rockets are being preferred however mostly shop owners buying in small or nominal quantity just to mark the festive season.

In a crucial and so far stand alone step Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot-led govt banned sell of any kind of firecracker on November 2. The govt has decided to impose a hefty penalty of Rs 10,000 on shopkeeper if found selling crackers. Also, an amount of Rs 2,000 is to be paid by the person found using or allowing any kind of fireworks.

Vimlendu Jha, Environmental expert said, “It’s a welcome step taken by Rajasthan govt and similar step needs to be taken in the entire national capital region. We have seen how the pollution level rises escalates up to by 20 times on the day of Diwali. In Delhi NCR there needs to ban on firecrackers.”

Medical experts in rhetoric have warned of perishing effect of SARCOV2 that primarily diagnosed as respiratory virus and pollution on human health. It has been speculated this situation of virus and pollution will spike positive cases and fatality rate.

National capital is already dealing in an alarming situation that has witnessed a spike in coronavirus cases with figures crossing atleast 5000 daily and increased ICU services. (ANI)

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