FIRECRACKER SELLERS in Mohali district’s Kurali town —known for the biggest fireworks market in the region — are openly flouting the directions issued by Punjab & Haryana High Court. As per the the HC’s orders, the district administration of Mohali issued barely four licences through draw of lots Monday for putting up firework stalls. However, a visit to Kurali gives a totally contradictory picture. In clear defiance of the court orders, hundreds of unauthorised fireworks sellers have set up stalls along NH-21 (Kurali-Ropar stretch) and Kurali-Morinda road stretch.
Instead, the two open spaces – Beant Singh stadium on Kurali-Siswan Road and Hockey stadium on Singhpura Road – that the district administration earmarked for sale of fireworks are empty. No stalls have been put up there. Asked about the issue, both Deputy Commissioner Gurpreet Kaur Sapra and Superintendent of Police Kuldeep Singh Chahal passed the buck to their juniors. Sapra said, “I have given directions to the sub-divisional magistrates who are heading the teams and will check the illegal sale of fireworks.” SSP Chahal said, “I have instructed the Station House Officers concerned to keep a watch on unauthorised sale of fireworks in the entire district.”
No action was taken against unauthorised fireworks sellers till late evening Tuesday. “People used to buy fireworks from the stalls located in the areas that are easily accessible. The two earmarked sites are located out of town. Going there and putting up our stalls means incurring heavy losses,” said Gurpreet Singh, a seller who admitted that he did not get a licence to sell fireworks.
“It is difficult for the administration to take any action against us because we have invested huge amount of money and will be ruined if we do not sell our stocks”, added Gurpreet Singh. Vijay Kumar, another firecracker seller who set up a stall on Kurali-Morinda Road, said the town was known for the fireworks market and in Diwali season, most of the people sell fireworks to earn a living.
“It is not easy to stop them,” Vijay Kumar told Chandigarh Newsline. “Just look around, you will find that even barbers, furniture shop owners and dhaba owners are selling fireworks. People invest lot of money every year just to make good profit on Diwali. It may be unauthorised but nobody will follow what the administration has said,” Kumar added.
Satinder Singh, another firework seller, said that every medium-level seller would have invested Rs 10 lakh-20 lakh for buying firecrackers and asked how could anyone stop them from selling their stock as they had no option.