“For the last three years I was making some profit by selling firecrackers during the Diwali time but the decision of apex court to ban sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR has shattered all my plans this year. It is a black Diwali for me,” said Mohinder Kumar, who runs a small kirana shop at Khandsa village in Gurgaon district.
Mohinder had already placed orders for firecrackers worth Rs 4 lakh with the wholesaler and has already paid him Rs 2 lakh in advance.
“The district administration issues licences to sell crackers every year. A firecracker mela is organised here in Gurugram, but this decision is stealing the bread of the common man who earns a little profit through these sale melas. To earn more profits I booked the crackers early but I was not aware that such a decision will be made. Now what should I do,” said Mohinder.
Traders and wholesalers in Gurugram are trying to find some loopholes in the order. A wholesaler said they haven’t received any paper or order copy so they will continue to sell crackers.
“Business is already reduced in the last two years and many wholesalers have already quit the business. The livelihood of wholesalers like me depends on such occasions and festivals. There will be a huge loss and we are feeling cheated after the verdict,” said the wholesaler.
A couple of years ago, cracker traders posted good profits but since pollution awareness campaigns and protests over worsening air quality gathered steam, their business went south with cracker sales hitting a slump. Last year only 200 licences were issued for sale of crackers as compared to 2015 when 500 licences were issued.
There is no firecracker factory in Gurugram. They are manufactured in Jhajjar and Rohtak. The traders are somehow looking for buyers outside NCR to clear their stock this Diwali.
“Now, we have no clue what to do with our stock. We are under immense pressure to post sales and have to visit other cities (outside NCR) to sell the stock and that too, cheap,” said Ashok Kumar Saini, owner of Star Night Fireworks, Gurgaon.
Residents and environmentalists in Gurugram have, however, welcomed the Supreme Court order. “The air quality goes for a toss every Diwali. We have appealed and will inform residents in all sectors again about the SC order. The ban will definitely control air pollution this Diwali,” said Col Umed Singh, president of the Sector-22 residents’ welfare association in Gurugram.