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SC’s green firecrackers order leaves Ludhiana’s local vendors in Catch-22 situation

Sellers claim they are not even aware of this new variety of firecrackers; say the decision will lead to losses.

punjab Updated: Oct 27, 2018 11:08 IST
Mohammad Ghazali
Mohammad Ghazali
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Supreme Court,Ludhiana,Catch-22 situation
Cracker-sellers protesting outside the deputy commissioner’s office in Ludhiana on Friday. They are demanding an increase in the limit of issuance of temporary licences.(HT Photo)

The local sellers are finding themselves in a sticky situation following the Supreme Court’s ruling that only ‘green firecrackers’ (which do not contain harmful chemicals) would be allowed to be sold ahead of Diwali.

The court has also imposed timing restrictions and allowed burning of firecrackers between 8pm and 10pm on Diwali.

Members of the Ludhiana Wholesale Fireworks Association claim that the order could not be followed as there is no supply of such firecrackers in the market. An association member, Tribhuvan Thapar, said the apex court’s order can only be followed next year as the current stock of firecrackers was bought well in advance.

“We buy crackers from the factories in Tamil Nadu’s Sivakasi, which do not manufacture such fireworks. Like all other business sectors, we also operate on advanced credit mode and buy the stock beforehand. While the festival is just a few days away, we cannot purchase a new stock of firecrackers whose existence is also arguable,” Thapar added.

Many claim that they are not aware of this new variety of firecrackers. “We have been selling the traditional crackers since we got into this business. There is no such item called green crackers. The court’s order will push us towards a huge financial loss,” said another firecracker seller, requesting anonymity.

As per the wholesale dealers of firecrackers, green crackers will prove be costlier than the traditional ones available in markets.

The association also blamed the “heightened environmental activism” and subsequent restrictions imposed by the judicial bodies behind the uncertain future of the cracker industry.

Last year, the Punjab and Haryana high court (HC) had directed the deputy commissioners that no permanent licence to sell firecrackers would be issued without the court’s permission.

The court had further added that the temporary licences issued should not exceed 20% of the number issued in the previous year. Only 40 licences were issued last year as compared to 189 in 2016.

The association members also held a protest on Friday and met the deputy commissioner, Ashwani Kapoor, with their demand to increase the limit of temporary licences from 20% to 50%.

“Our business has witnessed a substantial dip in the past couple of years and even this year, we will be using the stock procured for the last Diwali season as 60% of it remained unsold,” Thapar said.

First Published: Oct 27, 2018 11:08 IST