Shiva Bhalla

Shiva Bhalla

Dark Diwali? Traders in despair after Supreme Court bans firecracker sales in Delhi, NCR

October 9, 2017

In a statement, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said conducting business of firecrackers is a legitimate activity protected under the Constitution of India giving ‘Right to Work’.

New Delhi: The verdict by the Supreme Court on Monday to ban firecrackers sale in Delhi-NCR til November 1 is most likely to hit livelihoods of lakhs of workers in the fireworks manufacturing hubs across India mainly Sivakasi. Responding to the verdict, traders’ body CAIT urged the government to file a review petition before the apex court.

In a statement, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said conducting business of firecrackers is a legitimate activity protected under the Constitution of India giving ‘Right to Work’.

“The Supreme Court has imposed ban on sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR but there is no ban on bursting of crackers. Possibility of people buying crackers from other states and bursting them in Delhi-NCR cannot be ruled out. The distinction between Delhi traders and traders from the rest of India seems to be unjustified,” CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said.

“Many traders dealing in crackers must have purchased their stocks for this Diwaliby now and the ban will put them in huge losses,” he added.

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.

The traders’ body asserted that bursting of crackers on Diwali symbolises happiness of people on the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya and welcoming Goddess Lakshmi since centuries, and is an integral part of Indian culture.

“Even today crackers are burst on any grand event like Asian Games, Commonwealth Games or any event to demonstrate happiness. It is noteworthy to mention that environment danger is not caused only by crackers but several other factors also contribute much and as such a thorough study is required and demand suitable steps,” CAIT said.

Financial losses

The loss may be in tune of Rs 1,000 crore. Sivakasi has an annual estimated turnover of about Rs 7000 crore and employs more than 300,000 workers directly in the firecracker manufacturing factories.

Another 500,000 are engaged in related industries related to packaging, printing, paper rolling transportation and others.

On October 6, a bench of Justices AK Sikri, Abhay Manohar Sapre and Ashok Bhushan reserved its order on the plea seeking restoration of the top court’s last year order banning the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR.

The Supreme Court on September 12, 2017 modified its November 2016 order suspending all licences for sale and retail of firecrackers within Delhi NCR.

Last year, entire Delhi-NCR was engulfed in a thick blanket of toxic fog, the morning after the Diwali.

Delhi’s air quality index spike up to 42 times the safe limit.