You will have to travel 140km from Delhi-NCR to buy firecrackers this Diwali
Anyone keen on buying crackers legally from areas outside the prohibited limits of Delhi-NCR will have to travel a distance of nearly 140km to 200km from the eastern and southern borders of Delhi with Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Gurgaon on its peripheries.
It would mean a commute of six to eight hours for up and down movement and a few thousands of rupees on fuel and other expenses.
Residents of Delhi-NCR will have to drive down to Aligarh (140km), beyond Alwar (158km), Mathura (162km), Ambala (202km), Hissar (172km), Bijnor (163km) or Moradabad (180km) to be able to buy crackers from the nearest market selling them legally.
The Supreme Court reinstated on Monday its ban on the sale of firecrackers in and around New Delhi ahead of Diwali, in a preemptive step to stop a toxic haze from engulfing the region like last year. The ban will be applicable in Delhi-NCR. Besides Delhi, the NCR comprises 14 districts of Gurgaon, Faridabad, Mewat, Rohtak, Sonepat, Rewari, Jhajjhar, Panipat, Palwal, Bhiwani, Mahendragarh, Charkhi Dadri, Jind and Karnal in Haryana.
In UP, the NCR consists of Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar, Meerut, Bulandshahr, Baghpat, Hapur and Muzaffarnagar districts.
The ban will be in force in Delhi and the 21 districts in neighbouring Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. A person keen to buy and use firecrackers will have to travel beyond these territories.
In the absence of a detailed order, officials were not forthcoming, except for saying they would implement it.
While resident and environmentalists in NCR towns welcomed the ban, those in the trade were upset.
In Gurgaon, where the annual business is estimated around Rs 15-20 crore, traders said they had already made advanced payments to suppliers.
“There are five magazine holders in Gurgaon who supply crackers across Haryana, including Delhi-NCR. Their business runs into crores of rupees. Local traders have already made payments to them and the stock is theirs now. What will happen now,” said Amit Nagpal, a cracker trader.
Last year, the Gurgaon administration had issued 200 temporary licenses, less than the earlier figure of 500. Crackers are allowed to be sold for three days at sector-29, the sector 5 at HUDA ground and Gaushala ground near Sadar Bazar. The wholesalers have stockyards at Gadoli village and on Jhajjhar Road.
City fire officer IS Kashyap said the process of issuing temporary licenses for sale of crackers had not begun yet. “The process would have started from October 12 had this order not come,” he said.
In Ghaziabad, which has fireworks manufacturing units in Farrukhnagar, manufacturers said 2,500 families in and around the village would be affected.
“We cannot sell old stock and have no means to sell the stock outside NCR region,” said Asif Ali, a fireworks manufacturer.
Officials in Ghaziabad were waiting for a detailed order. “We have directed the respective sub divisional magistrates and police officials to check and stop any sales. We have to check the court order copy in case it allows traders to sell their stock outside,” said Ritu Maheshwari, district magistrate, Ghaziabad.
In Noida, district magistrate BN Singh had urged the RWAs to appeal to their members not to burst crackers. “The air quality goes for a toss every Diwali. We have appealed and will inform residents in all sectors again about the SC order,” said AN Dhawan, secretary general of the Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Association.
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