Neighbouring SAS Nagar and Panchkula have designated areas for sale of crackers, but Chandigarh has stalls with crackers in almost every market, with most not giving two hoots to safety measures.
In Panchkula, the cracker market is at the Sector-5 grounds, while at SAS Nagar there are three designated areas, the Dussehra Ground in Phase 8, the ground near Bassi Theatre in Phase 2 and the mandi ground in Phase 11.
Even when the two satellite towns managed to keep things in check, in Chandigarh the norms were being flouted with impunity. Each seller is required to keep 25 sand bags at the sale site and the minimum distance between two stalls should be 15 metres, among other measures.
UT fire officer SK Gosain said on Saturday evening, "A survey is on to identify unauthorised cracker shops and remove them. The ones functioning without licence have been directed to pack up. In all, there are around 700 licenced cracker stalls in Chandigarh."
These licensed and unlicensed stalls, most of them set up on folding beds in parking areas, are in Sectors 15, 19, 20, 22, 26, 29, 40, 43, 46 and 47. At some of the Sector-20 stalls, for instance, fire extinguishers were placed, but only at a few spots. This, when naked electricity wires could be seen hanging precariously outside many shops.
Chandigarh municipal corporation superintendent (enforcement) Kashmira Singh said about `12 lakh in fee had been deposited for setting up stalls across the city for ground permission. He did not have separate data about revenue earned through cracker stalls.
Meanwhile, teams headed by sub-divisional magistrates checked unauthorised stalls and seized 101kg of crackers. These were primarily from Dadumajra, Maloya, Sector 56, Palsora, Sector 44, Burail and Kajheri in the south division, while the other team seized material from five unauthorised shops in Sector 26, Mauli Jagran, Manimajra, Bapu Dham Colony. The team also destroyed approximately 40kg unlicensed crackers with water. The raids would continue on Sunday too, official said.
NORMS TO FOLLOW
*Smoking inside and near the shops prohibited
*Display of crackers on footpaths, too, is banned
*Minimum distance between two stalls: 15 metres
*Two fire extinguishers at each stall
*Water tanks of at least 200 litres for each stall