Uncertainty prevails over firecracker wholesalers in Ludhiana
The Ludhiana wholesalers say they have already made huge investments and may run into losses if sales do not pick up; and that the number of licences issued in the city has already been reduced and they can only set shop a week before Diwali, as opposed to a month before the festival of lights as was done before.
The ban on sale of firecrackers in Delhi and Chandigarh has put Ludhiana-based wholesalers in a fix with Dussehra and Diwali, the most profitable festivals, just around the corner. It does not matter that Punjab has not banned sales as the businessmen feel the ongoing farmer agitation and the pandemic have caused a slump in the business.
Wholesalers say that on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court in the past, the number of licences issued in the city has already been reduced and they can only set shop a week before Diwali, as opposed to a month before the festival of lights as was done before.
A wholesaler, Tribhuvan Thapar, said, “Earlier, 66 licences had been issued for setting up a firecracker market in the Grain Market near Jalandhar bypass. However, after the court’s directions, only 40 licences have been issued in the city, and only 13 sellers will be able to setup vends at the grain market.”
The wholesalers say they have already made huge investments and may run into losses if sales do not pick up. “Our business has been going through a slump for the last few years,” said Thapar.
They have demanded that the validity of licences should be increased, and a few permanent markets be alloted in the city for the sale of firecrackers.
People may not buy crackers due to financial constraints
Wholesaler Ramesh Aggarwal said financial constraints and rising inflation amid the pandemic are also a major concern as the public will not purchase crackers. There is uncertainty in the market and we cannot predict the response we will receive this year. “Each year, the craze for firecrackers reduces among the youth, and this year people will not purchase firecrackers in solidarity with the farmers’ stir.”
Another wholesaler, Taranjit Singh Bunty, said the administration may carry out a draw of lots for providing licences on October 25 this year, following which the markets will be established. “The administration should allot the licences a little earlier this year, so that the business can get back on track.
Joint commissioner of police (headquarters) J Elanchezhian said no fresh directions have been issued by the state government regarding the trade and use of firecrackers and licences will be issued for sale of crackers in the coming time, as per the instructions received from the state. “The process to allot the licences will begin in a few days,” he said.