Two days after the Supreme Court’s ban on sales of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR, the business is continuing brazenly in the city.
The traders are selling crackers with little adjustments. The HT team was able to purchase crackers from shops and godowns in Sadar Bazaar, Old Gurgaon and Garauli village on Pataudi road on Sunday.
Though the otherwise busy firecracker godowns in Garauli village wore a deserted look with huge metal gates locked, a small request to the workers or owners, stationed near the gates, and the doors were opened to the warehouses, displaying hundreds of varieties of crackers.
On confirming if they knew about the recent ban by the Supreme Court, a worker of Patakhewala, a shop in Garauli Village, said, “Yes, we know there has been a ban by the court. But our owner asked us to stay here and cater to the customers. We are cautious while pulling the shutters because if any government official finds out, strict action will be taken.”
The worker sold crackers to at least four other customers, who purchased bags full of sky shots, within 15 minutes after they partially opened the shutters of the shop. More customers waiting for their chance were seen a few metres away.
Another owner of a godown in the village even agreed to provide home-delivery of the crackers demanded by the HT team. Rahul, the owner, agreed to deliver 10 pieces of sky shots and another five packets of flowerpots by 7pm on phone.
“Do not worry. Just give me your address and the crackers will be delivered to the given address,” he said on the call.
In the busy market of Sadar Bazar, the shopowners adopted a different strategy. The owners half-open the shutters when a customer calls on the phone numbers displayed on the banners.
Stars Night, one of the biggest firecrackers showrooms of Sadar Bazaar and New Gurgaon, was ‘closed’ when the HT team first visited the shop on Sunday afternoon at around 2. But when the team contacted the owner of the shop, he first denied selling the crackers. But after a little push, he agreed and said that one of his employees Pankaj would come to the store by 3 in the afternoon.
Pankaj, wearing a black jacket, was present at the exact time. When asked about the prices of the crackers, he said after the ban there has been a 20% rise in the amount.
“Madam, we have to sell the crackers to earn a living. Customers have been coming to the shop, but we only sell after our owner asks us to open the store,” he said.
Even the crunch of new currency notes was not an issue for the shopkeepers. All the shops/godowns HT visited accepted both debit and credit card payments. But a demand for a bill for the purchases was blatantly denied.
The district administration maintained that as per the Supreme Court orders it is not allowed to sell firecrackers.
“It is not allowed to sell firecrackers in the city. If any person does not follow the directions, strict action will be taken against them,” said sub-divisional magistrate, Sushil Sarwan.
Meanwhile, TL Satyaprakash, deputy commissioner, asked the team to share the details of the shop owners and said that appropriate action will be taken against the culprits.