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Nobody has the licence to sell crackers in Delhi-NCR: Police

The few shops in Delhi holding licences that allow them to sell firecrackers all-year-round have kept their businesses shut because they admittedly do not have products that conform to the Supreme Court’s directives.

delhi Updated: Nov 03, 2018 23:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi pollution,Firecrackers,Diwali
Retailers arrange crackers in their shop for sale ahead of Diwali festival celebrations, in Chennai.(PTI Photo)

The Delhi-NCR region is likely to have a firecracker-less Diwali because there will be no legal sale of firecrackers, with police officials confirming on Saturday that no licences will be given to retailers as no products conform to the guidelines laid down by the top court last month.

The top court announced curbs on the use of fireworks across the country in general and more stringent conditions for their use in the National Capital Region (NCR) because of concerns over rising pollution. Specifically, it said only green crackers could be used in NCR. Bursting any of the conventional firecrackers will be illegal in the region. “We will not be issuing permission to anyone to sell firecrackers this Diwali. The applicants for temporary licences do not have green firecrackers and are not in a position to procure them before Diwali. We have taken the decision to enforce the Supreme Court order on sale and use of firecrackers,” said Madhur Verma, Delhi Police spokesperson.

The few shops in Delhi holding licences that allow them to sell firecrackers all-year-round have kept their businesses shut because they admittedly do not have products that conform to the top court’s directives.

According to a 2017 affidavit to the top court and explanations offered by the country’s explosives regulator (Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation or Peso) , green firecrackers refers to products that do not contain metals such as barium, aluminium and iron which release toxic gases – but such products have not yet been manufactured for sale.

Officials in Noida, Ghaziabad and Gurugram too said that no licenses have been issued for traders to sell firecrackers in the satellite towns of the national capital.

“In compliance with the Supreme Court order, we have not issued a single license this season to any trader for selling firecrackers. Only those who can submit proof that they are selling green firecrackers will be issued licences. However, so far no one has come forward,” said Munish Sharma, additional deputy commissioner of Gurugram.

He added that a licence can be provided if an applicant can prove that the product being sold conforms to the top court’s directives.

In Noida, the city magistrate said that while preliminary sales permissions have been given to some traders, licences will be handed out only after the applicants get a certificate from Peso and an affidavit stating their products can be considered green firecrackers. “Nobody has submitted all documents so far,” Shailendra Mishra, the city magistrate, said.

The “green firecracker” order was first delivered by the top court on October 23, when it laid down a specific restriction for the national capital region considering the air quality crisis that has become typical for this time of the year. Last year, the sale of firecrackers was banned but people who brought them from outside – irrespective of the type – were free to use them.

In the week following that ruling, the court reiterated thrice that only firecrackers without harmful chemicals can be used, leading to confusion among traders and law enforcement agencies since the ban was not complete like last year.

Traders in north Delhi’s Sadar Bazar market said the restrictions had made it a black Diwali for them, and claimed losses could run into crores of rupees.

“Last year temporary licenses had been issued to hundreds of people after which each of them procured firecrackers worth more than ?5 lakh. All our stock went down the drain as the police revoked licences at the last minute. We are just grateful that police haven’t issued a licence in the first place this year because of which most traders haven’t bought any stock,” said Narendra Gupta, head of Sadar Bazar Firework Association.

In north Delhi district, where the popular wholesale firecracker market Sadar Bazar is located, only 69 applications were received this year compared to the 200 last year. In east Delhi district, the figure stood at 96. Deputy commissioners of police of both districts said none of the applicants were issued licences since they did not meet the criteria laid down by the top court. “We will be verifying the applications once again on Sunday, but it is unlikely anyone will qualify,” said Nupur Prasad, DCP (north).

Some traders said they were now hoping to get some products approved at least for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

“Manufacturers have told us that it could take five-six months to start supplying ‘green crackers’. We just hope we can get a small stock for our regular customers by new year,” SC Jain, who holds a permanent licence for selling firecrackers in central Delhi’s Dariba Kalan, said on Friday.

Apart from the licence-holders, there are a number of small shops that illegally sell firecrackers every year in the city. But this year, every police station has formed special teams to crack down on such sales.

As of Saturday, nearly 1,900 kilograms of illegal firecrackers had been seized from across the city, most of them from west Delhi. Seven people were booked in connection with the seizures.

The Delhi Police on Friday issued an advertisement saying that the sale of non-green firecrackers would invite police action.

First Published: Nov 03, 2018 23:15 IST