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This Diwali, Delhi’s police stations send firecrackers to their ‘graves’

Crackers seized from vendors after the Supreme Court banned the sale of fireworks in New Delhi are now being buried in pits at police stations.

delhi Updated: Oct 19, 2017 07:49 IST
Shubhomoy Sikdar
Shubhomoy Sikdar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Diwali 2017,Happy Diwali,Diwali images
Crackers on sale at Bhagirath Palace market in New Delhi despite a ban by the Supreme Court.(Arun Sharma/HT Photo)

This Diwali, buried bombs are perhaps the safest bet for the Capital’s cops.

They are sitting on a tinderbox of about two tonnes of confiscated firecrackers, prompting a frantic hunt for a plan to safely store the stockpile in their cramped police stations.

Solutions range from burying them to shipping them out of the city.

These were seized from vendors after the Supreme Court banned the sale of fireworks in New Delhi for a fortnight, including the festival of lights, in a preemptive step to cut air pollution.

The downside is the problem of storing these highly inflammable firecrackers as these aren’t contraband technically that they can be destroyed.

The ban is against sales, not storage, in which case a seller can reclaim his stock. If he pleads guilty, the material seized can be smashed. If not, the cops have little option but to store the fireworks.

Then again, what if the temporary ban is lifted in November and the vendors ask for their rockets and bombs for the winter wedding season?

But these are too hazardous for the staff and visitors to be stored inside police stations.

The answer is to put the patakhas in the pits, “filled with sand and sandbags, and levelled out with soil so that no neglected spark can ignite a fire”, according to Delhi Police chief spokesperson Dependra Pathak.

Any open space on the premises of a police station is chosen for the cracker grave.

Precaution is paramount in Mangolpuri police station, where nearly 20kg of fireworks were buried in a ditch and rundown cars were parked atop as an added safety measure.

Some of these crackers are sent to a safe storage in Haryana with court permission, but an unspecified amount remains inside station buildings as time-pressed cops are unable to get the hazard out of the way. For them, burying the bombs, rather than defusing them, has become the best option.

First Published: Oct 19, 2017 07:40 IST