iconimg Monday, August 31, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, November 12, 2012
Traders have expressed unhappiness over a strict ban on the display of Diwali goods outside shops. Unlike past years, when traders used to keep their goods on the pavements to attract customers, this year the police have cracked down on such encroachments at Lajpat Nagar, Janpath and INA and other markets.

The traders are obviously not impressed and are claiming losses. They claim that the the implementation of the ban is arbitrary with markets such as Karol Bagh openly flouting it.

"A lot of markets are openly displaying their goods but there is a strict ban here. Is the law not equal everywhere?" asked Sanjiv Mehra, president, Khan Market Traders' Association (KMTA).

Since Khan Market is an uptown market secured on all sides by police with a four-tier security ring, he argues, restrictions based on terrorist threat need not apply on them.

Police in strength have also been deployed at markets in Green Park, Janpath and Lajpat Nagar.

The police have argued that banning the display of goods outside the shops is an effective measure against terrorist threats and encroachment, apart from keeping the pavements free for shoppers.

Traders, however, say that putting a blanket ban on items such as candles, sweets, idols of deities, is hurting their business. A trader in Khanna Market said their business has dropped by as much as 50 per cent compared to the previous years.

Firecracker suppliers have also complained about how sales have been hit due to the ban.

"The neighbourhood markets have not been allowed to put up stalls for firecrackers and so the supply is at an all-time low," said Dinesh Aggarwal, a fireworks supplier, in west Delhi.