With less than a week left in Diwali, the district administration is yet to issue licences to cracker vendors in the city.Though an area has been designated in New Amritsar for setting up a cracker market on the national highway, the sale of crackers is yet to start in the absence of licences. The makeshift cracker market that has come up in the area so far seems abandoned.
This kind of a scenario is not being witnessed for the first time as such a delay on the part of the district administration has become an annual feature.
When contacted, deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Bikram Pal Singh Bhatti said, "A committee in this regard was formed by the Amritsar police commissioner. As soon as additional deputy commissioner of police (city-1) Parampal Singh hands over a report to me, licences will be issued. It is a matter of a day or two and the entire job will be done."
Speaking on the criteria for licences, the DCP said, "Till now, 70 persons have been allotted booths by the Amritsar improvement trust at the site identified in New Amritsar. But after a close look at the safety measures and equipment which vendors are carrying in this regard, we will issue licences to only those who fulfil the criteria. Those who fail to ensure the safety measures will not be given licences."
As the New Amritsar area falls under the jurisdiction of the Amritsar improvement trust, the body has cleared a plot and erected temporary booths for the cracker market.
Improvement trust chairman Sandeep Rishi said, "We have got the grass cut, levelling of land has been done and we have even set up proper street lights in the market with our own funds."
He said safety measures were kept in mind while making the booths. No booths will have a common wall. In fact, every booth would have ten feet distance from each other and this market is away from the residential area. "We are sure that deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat would instruct various departments and facilities like fire brigade would be readily available. The police authorities would be gearing up at their end too."
Rishi said the rent for of each booth in the market has been fixed at Rs 25,000.
Asserting that the entire process will be handled smoothly, deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat said, "We follow this exercise every year. I will soon assign the duties to the municipal corporation and the police department. The health department would also be actively involved in the process."