A day after the UT deputy commissioner earmarked three sites in Chandigarh for the sale of crackers, many wholesale traders continued to sell crackers in other parts of the city. The earmarked sites are Sector 25 rally ground, Dusshera Ground in Manimajra and Sector 43 Apni Mandi.
HT team visited a few shops as a customer at Sector 42, Attawa Chowk, and found that at the two Garg wholesale stores, crackers varying from Rs 20 to Rs 500 were being sold. Praveen Kumar Garg, one of the owners, said, “We have been at this shop for the past 20 years and never really faced major issues in the sale of crackers. We will take it up with the DC to see what solution can be offered.” He maintained that they had been giving rent worth Rs 15,000 for the past many years and that both the shops had licence for this wholesale trade.
Raj Gulati, owner of Raj Book Store, rued about how he had only managed to earn Rs 330 till 4pm on Tuesday evening, claiming that people were ‘scared to buy, post the administration’s instructions’. “It is not easy to shift base and set up a shop. Some of the sites earmarked by the administration are in a dense vegetation area and there is a fear of getting dengue from the mosquitoes there,” said Gulati.
“Why must the administration have a problem then as this is the only time we get to earn some extra money?” said Gulati. The wholesale book stores start selling crackers a month and a half prior to Diwali and continue till Gurpurab.
DC Ajit Balaji Joshi said that selling crackers at any place other than the earmarked sites was a violation. “The ADC will be holding a meeting with the traders who can share their concerns or submit representations and then we will take a call. In the meantime, they are expected to adhere to the instructions.”