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Delhi all set for a cracker-free Diwali; city police to ensure implementation of SC order

With the ban on the sale and use of conventional firecrackers, the Supreme Court has tasked the Delhi Police force to crack down against people found bursting firecrackers, as well as against firecracker sellers across the city’s markets, who are now looking for clandestine ways to sell their old stock.

delhi Updated: Nov 08, 2018 21:32 IST
Soumya Pillai
Soumya Pillai
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi,cracker-free diwali,Madhur Verma
Delhiites throng the local markets for last minute Diwali shopping.(HT File Photo)

For the first time in years, the run up to Diwali has been a test of effectiveness for the Delhi Police. With the ban on the sale and use of conventional firecrackers, the Supreme Court has tasked the police force to crack down against people found bursting firecrackers, as well as against firecracker sellers across the city’s markets, who are now looking for clandestine ways to sell their old stock.

The police said that on Wednesday, Diwali day, the police would focus on stopping people from illegally bursting traditional firecrackers. Delhi Police spokesperson Madhur Verma said that local police stations have been instructed to increase patrolling around neighbourhoods to track any violation.

“We will act on any complaints we receive in the control room and also inspect areas to check for remains of burnt crackers,” Verma said.

After the court order, the police have already registered an FIR against a resident of Ghazipur for bursting crackers.

On the eve of Diwali, enforcement teams were seen guarding the wholesale cracker markets of Sadar Bazaar, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, and Karol Bagh. Heavy deployment was seen near godowns and shops, wherever there was possibility of the illegal sale of crackers.

“Apart from uniformed deployment, we also have police personnel doing the rounds of these markets in plainclothes, to catch any sale,” an official deployed at Sadar Bazaar said.

In Old Delhi, local rickshaw pullers have also been roped in to provide information about any furtive exchange around the market. Officials deployed at the market said that most exchanges were found to have been happening at shops that were ostensibly selling decorative items for the festival.

HT had, on Tuesday, published a ground report of how cracker sellers with old stock were now resorting to novel ways to sell fireworks. Vendors around Old Delhi, Trilokpuri, Mayur Vihar phase-1, and New Kondli were offering home delivery of crackers at higher prices.

Since the Court order on October 23, the Delhi Police have seized around 5,000kg of illegal firecrackers, which contain polluting chemicals such as Barium, Sulphur, Aluminium, Copper, Lithium and Strontium. On Tuesday alone, the police seized 250kg of illegal firecrackers from Uttam Nagar, Sadar Bazar and Kalyanpuri.

“The accused (in Uttam Nagar) were arrested for storing crackers without a licence. The Dwarka police have registered five cases following the Supreme Court order on sale of old firecrackers,” deputy commissioner of police (Dwarka) Anto Alphonse said.

He said that Dwarka and Uttam Nagar have become new hubs for the illegal sale of firecrackers. Apart from Tuesday’s seizure, around 30kg of firecrackers were seized from the area in the last two days.

On Sunday too, a dealer was arrested with 22kg of crackers from Uttam Nagar.

A trader in Jama Masjid’s wholesale market, who had been waiting for a temporary licence from the police to sell crackers this year, said that sellers like him are left with no other option but to find ways to dispose of the old stock.

“There are sellers who have invested lakhs of rupees in buying stock and are left with no other option but to sell it illegally. This would not have happened, had the agencies found an alternative for us,” the trader said, on the condition of anonymity.

First Published: Nov 07, 2018 07:20 IST