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Licenses issued, crackers for sale in Noida, Ghaziabad despite ‘green’ order

The decision is poised to hurt the air quality situation, which will likely hit severe levels after Wednesday evening’s Diwali celebrations.

noida Updated: Nov 08, 2018 21:35 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal and Vaibhav Jha
Peeyush Khandelwal and Vaibhav Jha
Hindustan Times/ Ghaziabad/Noida
Firecrackers,Ban on crackers,Diwali crackers
People burning crackers on the occasion celebrating of Diwali in New Delhi on October 20, 2017.(Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)

District administrations in Ghaziabad and Noida have made the sale of firecrackers legal by issuing licences for them despite there being no certification from the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (Peso) attesting their “greenness”. A total of 48 temporary licenses were issued in Ghaziabad and 66 in Gautam Budh Nagar, which also means that buyers from neighbouring Delhi can buy firecrackers here and smuggle them in.

A Hindustan Times survey of licenced outlets uncovered firecrackers made in 2014, and also ones with metals banned by the Supreme Court. At one of the markets, a representative of a traders body spoke of a listing of “safe crackers” made by some companies and claimed these were the only ones stocked — but could not provide the list when asked.

An official of Peso was unavailable for comment despite several attempts.Earlier, Peso officials told Hindustan Times that they had not certified any firecracker as green or less polluting -- a classification determined by the constituents of the product.

Unlike Delhi where the cracker sale licence is issued by police, the district administration issues licence in Uttar Pradesh and it seems to have misplaced belief in the ability of retailers to sell only green crackers (in the National Capital Region) as mandated by the apex court when, in reality, there are no such crackers available this year.

“The retailers will have to fulfil the directions else we will take action. They have been asked to submit affidavits as well. Their licence applications also have court directions mentioned. If the old stock is sold and if there is any violation, we will get it checked immediately. We have also asked the different departments to get the violations checked,” said Yashwardhan Srivastava, city magistrate (Ghaziabad).

“The fire crackers procured by the traders must have a certification from PESO. Ladi crackers are a strict no-no which will result in immediate arrest of trader and cancellation of their license. It is the responsibility of the police to ensure the enforcement,” said Shailendra Mishra, city magistrate, Noida.

Gunja Singh, city magistrate of Greater Noida, said,“Twenty-two licenses were issued in Greater Noida subject to the condition that the crackers will be low emission, green crackers. In this regard, the licensee traders took oath on Tuesday that they will adhere to SC guidelines.”

The decision is poised to hurt the air quality situation, which will likely hit severe levels after Wednesday evening’s Diwali celebrations. According to projections by government’s air pollution forecaster System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research, the air quality index will surpass 401 even if half of the amount of firecrackers burst last year are used this time around. Last year, there was a complete ban on sales, while this year, both sales and use of conventional fireworks are banned.

At Kavi Nagar Ramlila Ground in Ghaziabad, vendors claimed they were selling “improved” crackers but admitted that “green crackers” were not available. The Supreme Court order doesn’t mention improved crackers and only allows green ones. The shops HT visited stocked items such as skyshots, phuljhari, ladis, rockets, and chakris besides bombs of various types. The SC order dated October 23 specifically banned the manufacture, sale and use of joined firecrackers (series crackers or ladis) .

“Due to the Supreme Court order we have stocked an average of only 200 items; there were 500 till the last couple of years. There is lesser availability of crackers in markets due to restriction by the court,” said Ashutosh Gupta, president of the Kavi Nagar Crackers Dealers Association Market. He claimed that the retailers have lists of different companies which have listed firecrackers under the “improved” category but could not produce the list either on Monday or Tuesday. HT also found vendors selling crackers made in 2014 and containing Aluminium, Barium etc, which were banned by the court.

First Published: Nov 07, 2018 07:18 IST