Despite being under pressure to revert the decision of allowing sale of crackers only at three designated places in the city, UT Deputy Commissioner Ajit Balaji Joshi is sticking to his stand.
The authorities have identified three sites — Sector 25 Rally Ground, Sector 43 Apani Mandi Ground and Manimajra Dussehra Ground — for sale of crackers and imposed a ban on sale of crackers in other parts of the city.
Stating that ensuring safety of people was the prime concern, Joshi said that they could increase the number of sites but won’t allow sale of crackers at any other markets as it would create a fire hazard.
“The decision would remain the same. The earmarked sites can be increased but sale of crackers in any other place cannot be allowed. The Additional Deputy Commissioner even had a meeting with the traders to tell them that it is for the safety of everybody,” Joshi told Chandigarh Newsline.
The traders had approached BJP leaders for convincing the DC. They also met Mayor Arun Sood who made a recommendation to the DC to allow the traders to put cracker stalls outside their shops in respective markets.
In a meeting with the traders, Additional Deputy Commissioner Amit Talwar told them there could not be any compromise on the safety of people.
“I asked them to convince me but they had no argument to make except that the practice of selling crackers outside shops has been prevalent for the last many years,” said Talwar. Lack of resources is another alibi the traders are using to convince the authorities.
“The small traders are taking a plea that they don’t have additional manpower to be deputed at their shops and stalls simultaneously,” said Talwar.
For the past many years, traders have been selling crackers in densely populated sectors — 7, 15, 22, 23, 26, 24 — and villages — Burail, Kajheri, Maloya and Palsora. With little check, the traders violate guidelines pertaining to fire safety and encroachments.
“There are directions of the Government of India which say that sale of crackers may be allowed in open spaces outside the city and not amidst the markets. Distance has to be maintained between each cracker stall,” added Talwar.
The authorities have made elaborate fire safety arrangements. A total of three fire tenders on each site will be deployed.
The administration has already got 500 applications for the crackers. In 2014, too, 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 local MP Kirron Kher intervened.