Happy Diwali, but not for cracker traders

New Delhi: Diwali lacks sparkle for firecracker dealers of Delhi’s Sadar Bazar wholesale market. The Supreme Court has restricted sale of traditional crackers and has put a timeframe for setting off firecrackers to only two hours during the day.

Sadar Bazar Welfare Association on Wednesday protested against the court ruling that allows the sale and use of only green crackers.

The shopkeepers say the new guidelines, issued by the apex court just two weeks ahead of Diwali, have dampened their sale, making their stock redundant.

“We don’t know what green crackers are. When we asked the police, they said they will give us a list of crackers. But the next day, they said it will take around two more days. There is no green cracker in the market. This should have been done one year in advance,” General Traders Association President, Harjeet Singh Chhabra told ANI.

The traders adopted a unique method to express their anger. They strapped crackers around ‘green vegetables’, deriding the new guidelines.

“The Supreme Court and Central Government didn’t make it clear that what exactly is ‘green cracker’. This is incompetence of the government. The shopkeepers completely unaware of these type of crackers. Traders have faced losses amounting to crores,” said Paramjeet Singh, Vice President of the Sadar Bazar Federation.

Meanwhile, Delhi residents woke up to a thick grey haze on Monday, just two days ahead of the festival of lights. But strong winds cleared the sky on Wednesday even as air quality remained under the ‘very poor’ category.

Air quality in the national capital worsens around this time of the year as farmers in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana burn agriculture waste to clear their fields.
The government has put in place the Graded Response Action Plan, to try to improve conditions by measures like imposing fine on polluting vehicles.

A division bench of the Supreme Court had on October 23 refused to put a blanket ban on the sale of firecrackers across the country.

However, the bench only allowed the sale of reduced emission i.e. improvised and green crackers.