AMIDST A hue and cry by the cracker sellers over the Punjab and Haryana High Court order on firecrackers, as many as 171 cracker sellers were selected through the draw of lots on Monday: 96 for Chandigarh, 35 for Panchkula district, and 40 for Mohali district. The cracker sellers will put up their stalls at designated sites in the Tricity from Tuesday morning.
The stalls in Chandigarh will be put up at nine sites, which have been identified by the administration. Earlier, the administration had increased sites from eight to 17 but after the court’s orders of allowing only 20 per cent of previous cracker licence holders, the sites were reduced to nine. Among the identified sites are Sector 43 ground, near Ramleela ground in Sector 46, other grounds in sectors 24, 37-C, 29, Ram Darbar, Sector 20, Manimajra and Sector 33-C.
In Chandigarh, the draw of lots was held under a tent outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Sector 17. As a sign of protest, the cracker sellers sat on the floor and not in chairs. There were 614 applications in all, out of which 96 had to be selected. One by one the traders were called to take out one name. A woman whose name couldn’t figure in the draw began crying on the spot itself. She is said to have sold her jewellery for purchasing the stock of firecrackers. Sources said that the cracker sellers whose names did not figure in the draw, were resorting to adjustment of their stock and profit sharing with those who were selected.
However, the selected cracker sellers were learnt to be saying that they could sell others’ stock only after they were through with selling their own stock. Names of the Chandigarh Crackers Association president Devinder Gupta and general secretary Chirag Aggarwal didn’t figure in the draw but their brother and brother-in-law were selected.
In Panchkula city, only 13 stalls will be put up at Sector 5 ground while 35 stalls in all will be put up at different locations in the district. In Panchkula city, as many as 130 applications were received. The draw of lots was held at the DC office with proper videography.