‘Our Diwali going up in smoke’: Shopkeepers react after SC ban on firecracker sale

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New Delhi: News of the Supreme Court order decreeing a cracker-free Diwali this year spread like the proverbial wildfire through wholesale markets in New Delhi on October 9, uniting shopkeepers big and small in their anger and dismay.
With losses running into crores, their Diwali was going up in smoke, said shopkeepers in Sadar Bazar and Jama Masjid, two of the biggest cracker markets in the city.
The news traveled fast in the narrow bylanes of the two markets in the Old City with shops piled high with crackers of all kinds, ranging from sparklers selling for about Rs 20 a stick to powerful bombs going up to Rs 1,000 and more.
The Supreme Court said its order of last November banning the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) would continue till October 31 – Diwali falls on October 19 — in an effort to check pollution this festival of lights.
“All dealers across NCR have been affected. The ban was imposed in 2016 last year and was lifted temporarily around 20 days back. Now, what will be do with the old stock? Crackers worth crores will go waste,” said Amit Jain, who sells firecrackers in Jama Masjid.
Harjit Singh Chhabra, head, Sadar Nishkarm Welfare Association, estimated that losses could go up to hundreds of crores.
According to him, 500 temporary licences have already been issued to sell firecrackers in Delhi-NCR. Of these, Sadar Bazar has 24. This does not include those who have a permanent licence.
“Ban nuclear weapons, not crackers,” said one shopkeeper in Sadar Bazar. “The Supreme Court’s job is to regulate not ban,” added another who had set up shop close by. “They have banned Diwali in Delhi,” said a third.

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