Thress days before Diwali, the Chandigarh Administration and district administrations of Panchkula and Mohali will be holding draw of lots on Monday to award temporary licences to traders for sale of crackers. The draw of lots shall be held in the Tricity at 5 pm. A total of 200 cracker-sellers shall be awarded licences: 96 in Chandigarh, 55 in Mohali district and 50 in Panchkula district. In Panchkula city, only around 13 cracker sellers and around 18 in Mohali city will be permitted.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday restricted bursting of firecrackers on Diwali in Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana to three hours — from 6.30 pm to 9.30 pm. The court also issued guidelines for granting temporary licences to firecracker sellers. The High Court passed the directions while hearing a suo-moto cognisance of the deteriorating air quality in the region and sought information on the licences granted to traders across Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana. The court had also restrained the authorities from issuing any permanent licences without permission of the court and also limited the number of temporary licences to be issued to the traders.
Applications from the cracker sellers will be accepted till 2 pm on Monday. The Chandigarh Administration has already received 450 applications while the number of applicants for the licences was 300 in Mohali till Sunday evening and 114 applications were received in Panchkula. The draw of lots shall be conducted under the supervision of respective Deputy Commissioners of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula. The entire process shall be videotaped.
The Chandigarh Cracker Sellers Association, meanwhile, has planned to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday morning and file a review petition against the court’s restraint order issued last week. “We are hopeful of getting relief from the court. In the first place, the order is not clear and another thing is that we did not understand the concept of a cap of 20 per cent licences. There are people who are even filling multiple applications so that the chances of having their name in the final draw of lots increases,” Chirag Aggarwal, general secretary of the association, told Chandigarh Newsline. Mohali Deputy Commissioner Gurpreet Kaur Sapra said, “We will accept the applications till 2 pm and then the draw of lots shall be held at 5 pm at vegetable market in Phase 11. This is the same place where the cracker-sale stalls shall be put up for the next four days till Diwali night,” she said. In Chandigarh, the administration has already earmarked 17 sites — all open grounds scattered across the city — but the number of sites may be revised after the draw of lots. In Panchkula, the cracker stalls shall be allowed to put up at three locations in open ground areas of sectors 5, 14 and 28.
Chandigarh DC issues prohibitory orders
Implementing the directions issued by the High Court, the Chandigarh District Magistrate on Sunday issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure. “The sale of firecrackers by the temporary licences granted shall only be in the areas, which are designated in the temporary licence and no temporary licensee shall sell firecrackers or market them at any other place except the earmarked or designated area,” the order mentioned.
Also, the District Magistrate banned the manufacture, sale or use of firecrackers generating noise level exceeding 125 decibel or 145 decibel at 4 metres distance from the point of bursting and for individual firecracker constituting the series. Every manufacturer shall on the box of each firecracker mention details of its chemical contents and that it satisfies the requirement as laid down by the Department of Explosives.
Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Manbir Singh said that as many as 200 policemen would be on duty and 70 police vehicles, including police riders, would be stationed at various points to ensure HC orders are implemented in letter and spirit. “Our Station House Officers are also contacting the resident welfare association heads and sarpanches of the villages in Panchkula district to make them aware that the cracker bursting time be implemented,” DCP Singh told Chandigarh Newsline.