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Two days before Diwali, firecrackers sellers in Delhi still waiting for licence to sell old stock

Firecrackers sellers are in a fix as the Delhi Police said temporary licences would be issued only to these vendors who trade in ‘green crackers’. The police said no licences have been given to temporary cracker vendors in the city as they have failed to fulfil the conditions laid down by the apex court.

delhi Updated: Nov 05, 2018 10:01 IST
Soumya Pillai
Soumya Pillai
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
diwali,green crackers,SC order on firecrackers sale
TheSadar Bazar market in Delhi. Wholesale and retail dealers in this and other markets in Old Delhi want the confusion around permits for selling old stock of firecrackers clarified. (Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)

The last weekend before Diwali also passed with wholesale and retail firecracker vendors across city markets waiting for licences from the Delhi Police to sell their old stock of regular firecrackers .

Firecrackers sellers are in a fix as the Delhi Police said temporary licences would be issued only to these vendors who trade in ‘green crackers’. The Supreme Court, however, had clarified that there are no green or low-emission crackers available in the market, which, by default, makes the sale of any existing firecracker illegal in Delhi and NCR.

The police said no licences have been given to temporary cracker vendors in the city as they have failed to fulfil the conditions laid down by the apex court.

“We had bought the crackers months in advance. You cannot wake up one morning saying these traditional crackers are banned. They should have given us some time to clear the existing stock, at least ,” Mahesh Lal Gupta, a wholesale dealer from Jama Masjid, said.

Wholesale and retail dealers in Old Delhi said they wanted the confusion around permits clarified. They said cracker stocks worth crores were lying in godowns with no solution given by either the courts or the Delhi government.

“We will give licences provided the sellers prove that they have green crackers, as certified by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO),” Mandeep Singh Randhawa, deputy commissioner of police (central range), said.

Police officials said 43 temporary permit requests were received by the central district this year, while 27 applications were received by north — the two districts with the maximum number of wholesale cracker markets in the city.

While temporary cracker vendors struggled to get permits from the police, the owners of permanent shops around Sadar Bazar, Jama Masjid, and Chandni Chowk with licences allowing the sale of firecracker throughout the year , were equally confused. Sellers said that despite having licences to sell conventional fireworks and crackers, their wares have been rendered “illegal” after the SC’s order.

“Though, technically, we can open shops, we cannot sell the goods. I don’t know what to do with my licence. It is as good as having no licence at all,” Narendra Gupta, the owner of Sai Crackers in Sadar Bazar, said.

For a week now, all permanent cracker shops around the area have been shut, as the traders have no clarity on the court order, Gupta said.

“Will you be issuing temporary licences? Will permanent shop owners be allowed to sell their stock? What will the conditions that we will have to fulfil to get licences be? What do we do with so much stock lying around in our godowns? All these questions will have to be answered. They (the court and the government) leave us hanging like this,” he said.

First Published: Nov 05, 2018 10:00 IST