Green crackers available on outskirts, to cost more
Residents will have to shell out 30-40% more to procure the specialised green crackers this year. Despite the higher availability of green crackers compared to last year, the crackers cost more as raw materials used to manufacture the less polluting variation are costlier.
However, the variety of crackers is still no match to the conventional crackers, as manufacturers faced difficulties in production due to Covid-19 pandemic, say traders based in Gadoli and Qadipur villages, which are the main hub of cracker trade on the outskirts of the city.
City residents might also have to reach out to wholesalers on the outskirts to buy green crackers, as the district administration is yet to grant permission for setting up temporary stalls within the city. The police on Thursday said that only green crackers would be allowed to be sold and action would be taken against violators.
In 2018, the Supreme Court had banned the sale and use of conventional firecrackers in the National Capital Region while deciding a writ petition filed in 2015 against high pollution caused by firecrackers on Diwali. Later in 2019, the apex court had allowed the sale and use of green crackers, which caused less air pollution, and that too in a limited window.
Traders in the city, however, said the lack of variety and the Covid-19 pandemic has hit their sales by at least 70% this year. “The business is usually high during the Dussehra season, but this year sales were not high. We had expected some recovery but nothing has happened as people either don’t want to spend or they don’t have money,” said Anil Nagpal, a supplier based in Qadipur.
The traders in Qadipur and Gadoli say that crackers of different types, sizes and colours were available but due to change in chemical composition and reduction in strength, the potency of these products was lesser than traditional crackers. “The crackers available now have a different chemical composition and the chemicals which used to pollute the air have been replaced with laboratory approved chemicals,” said Nagpal.
The result of these changes, says traders, is that the price of green crackers is 30% to 40% higher and as large-scale production of green crackers began only in June 2020, the manufacturers have not been able to supply the complete variety. “Rockets and colourful fireworks which used to sell heavily for their dazzling sight and sound are not available. The manufacturing was also affected due to Covid-19. These crackers also create less sound so the buyers are less happy, but we sell only green crackers as these cause less pollution,” Pawan Kumar Jhamb, a trader based in Qadipur.
A trader based in Gadoli, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the district administration should allow retail shopkeepers to set up temporary stalls so that sales can pick up across the city. “In the absence of these retailers, buyers will have to come to Qadipur and Gadholi to buy crackers. Sale of crackers should be allowed in different parts of the city,” he said.
Jhamb also said that only seven to eight retailers on the outskirts of the city would be able to sell crackers in the current circumstances if permission is not granted to retailers.
Subash Boken, public relations officer, Gurugram police, said that only sale of green crackers would be allowed in the city. “Action would be taken against those violating the norms,” he said.
Officials of the district administration did not respond to requests for comment on allowing retail sale in city.