The Chandigarh administration has identified eight new sites for traders to sell crackers ahead of the festive season.
Of the previous three sites – Sector 25 Rally Ground, Sector 43 Apni Mandi Ground and Manimajra Dussehra Ground – the first two have been dropped by the administration.
The new sites where traders would be allowed to sell crackers are sectors 38, 43, 49,24, Sector 17 parade ground and three grounds in Manimajra, including the Dussehra Ground.
Additional deputy commissioner Amit Talwar said the new sites were identified after the sub-divisional magistrates found that the existing sites could not accommodate so many stalls.
Talwar said: “Not more than 50 stalls would be put up at each site. We had received 450 applications for crackers and 150 on one ground was not feasible since a particular distance has to be maintained between each stall.”
Meanwhile, after getting to know that the administration has increased the sites, but not agreed to allow them to sell crackers outside their shops, the Cracker Dealers’ Association met city MP Kirron Kher who assured them of help.
Devinder Gupta, president, Cracker Dealers’ Association, said: “This is totally unjust. We have been selling crackers for years, why this decision now? It is better if crackers are sold at different places rather than at one place where the risk increases.”
The association members have decided to wait till Monday or else they would protest.
The additional deputy commissioner said one fire brigade would be stationed at each identified site.
The traders have been against the decision ever since it was announced.
In 2014, the administration had earmarked three sites – Circus Ground in Sector 17, Exhibition Ground in Sector 34 and Circus Ground in Manimajra – but had to revert the decision after Kher intervened.
For the past many years, the traders have been selling crackers in densely populated sectors 7, 15, 22, 23, 26, 24 and Burial, Kajheri, Maloya and Palsora villages. With little check, the traders violate guidelines pertaining to fire safety and encroachment.
*Govt schools to be opened for parking
The education department has decided to open the schools near the markets from October 24 to October 31 to provide people additional space for parking in the festive season.
Officials said it would be the responsibility of the police to take care of the property of the school.