Since the Supreme Court ban on sale of firecrackers came into force, the firework traders in Old Delhi have been facing a setback in business.
The anguish of fireworks traders is escalating in Old Delhi’s Bazar Paiwalan market with every passing day as Diwali is just a week away.
“The SC decision has come as a blow to us. We didn’t anticipate it and now we are turning our customers away. We saw a kid this morning crying before his father who couldn’t buy him crackers,” said Ajay Kumar Srivastava, owner of Majestic Fireworks shop.
“We are witnessing a setback in our business sale worth Rs 5-6 lakh and it goes up as we inch closer to the festival,” Srivastava told Mail Today on the third day after the ban came into force. “Where will we open our shops? Our hands are tied because we can’t violate the law. We can’t rebel and carry on with our trade. We don’t want to get our shops sealed. We want to operate legally,” said another trader, from Ajit Fireworks.
Terming it as a decision full of gaping loopholes, the trader said, “The ban is anyway misplaced because people can still procure crackers. The ban is on sale, not on bursting crackers.”
“Why was the ban lifted on September 12?” asked Srivasava. Some people are simply after this trade because Delhi has started witnessing smog before Diwali.
In absence of no other way to eke livelihood, the traders are finding no solace in other cracker-sale seasons, like the marriage season, because people don’t visit us in large numbers. “We were born amid this crackers business. Most of us do not know other ways of earning our bread,” said Ankur Kumar, a 31-year-old shopkeeper, who has been in the business from the time he was 11-year-old.
“The argument behind pinning blame on crackers falls flat because we can see the smog a week before Diwali. The decision-makers should also take other contributing factors into account before delivering a jolt to the traders’ community,” said Vishal Jain, another trader in the Old Delhi market.
Their plight and anger cannot be quantified, the traders in the market maintained. “The consequences of this decision taken by the apex court are not limited to national Capital. This is a knockout punch for traders working in the fireworks industry operating all the way till Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu,” said Jain.
The traders are looking for respite, hoping the decision to roll back.