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Firecrackers ban: Traders disappointed, furious about business setback

IANS | New Delhi |

As the Supreme Court on Friday refused to modify its earlier order banning the sale of firecrackers in Delhi and the NCR, traders, who were hoping to of restart the business, were furious and also disappointed by the setback they have been facing in business.

All the fireworks shops near the Jama Masjid area were shut with a few owners having waited till the afternoon for the court order, which they expected to be in their favour. However, it transpired that they had to keep their outlets closed with the previous stock still inside.

Those who used to open temporary stalls during the Diwali season, said they had returned the previous stock to the factories but those in the sole business of crackers and other festive products expressed extreme anger and dejection.

The ban on firecrackers will be in effect till further orders till November 1, with the apex court, pointing to the adverse impact of bursting of the fire crackers witnessed year after year, said that the November 11, 2016 order suspending the licenses “should be given one chance to test itself” to see if there would be a positive effect of this, particularly during Diwali.

But traders said they could not comprehend this kind of reasoning given to bar them from doing business with many feeling that just one day of bursting of crackers couldn’t have that adverse an effect on the environment.

“The government spends crores on killing mosquitoes. Bursting of firecrackers on Diwali is a boon as it helps dealing with diseases like dengue and malaria. There isn’t a lot of pollution generated in just one day anyway,” said Jai Kishan Das, 72, who otherwise sells soft drinks and temporarily does the business of crackers in the Diwali season.

“Why aren’t they taking any steps to control pollution on other days as well? No orders for stubble burning and other activities?” he asked.

His grandson, said: “We will celebrate October 19 as black Diwali and would start selling crackers after the ban is lifted on November 1. There will be a Diwali celebration with crackers on November 6 here.”

Amit, 42, from Ajit Fireworks, said their family business of crackers has been running for past 50 years and “people’s livelihoods will have a tragic impact” from the court’s “experimental” order.

“The court must have taken the decision due to reasons it found relevant. For us, there is no relevance of it at all. There have been a solid instigation that has led to such a wrong decision. One day control cannot change the overall situation of the environment.

“We get very little business opportunities on other days and during other festivals. Diwali is major for us. Does the court have any answer to our problems?” he asked.

What will he do about the previous stock?

“Our kids will burst these crackers. We will celebrate Diwali like we do every year. No change to it.”

Satya Prakash, 54, runs a general store in the same bazaar and does additional business of crackers this time every year. “There won’t be any noise or dirt this Diwali because of the ban but the lives of people only selling crackers will be affected tremendously.

“So many people come from villages specially for this trade. Millions are associated with it. They have been left helpless. Hence, it is a very insensitive order,” he said.

One of his Muslim customers, Mohammad Farhan, who although doesn’t celebrate the festival, also expressed his disagreement with the order.