THE UT Administration seems to be unwilling to issue licences to new cracker sellers this time. As many as 80 new dealers have applied for licences to sell crackers in Chandigarh. A senior officer of the UT Administration said, “Already, there are around 300 old cracker sellers in Chandigarh. Increasing the number will add to pollution. We need to tighten noose around the cracker sale, especially when Supreme Court has put a ban on the same in Delhi NCR.”
With just a week left for Diwali, chances of getting new licences seem to be bleak. Additional Deputy Commissioner Rajiv Gupta said that they could not say anything as of now about issuing new licences to cracker sellers. “No decision has been taken until now,” Gupta told Chandigarh Newsline.
A shopkeeper who has applied for a new licence said, “It has been a month since we applied. We visit the officers and they don’t give us a definite reply whether we would get licences. If they don’t want to issue licences, they should at least inform us well in time. We have already purchased stock worth thousands.”
Chirag Aggarwal, general secretary of the Chandigarh Cracker Dealers’ Association, said, “Because of Supreme Court’s decision, even the officers in Chandigarh are now thinking on the lines of curtailing the cracker business to some extent. We cracker sellers have been shuttling from one office to another.”
Aggarwal added, “Just because of the problems which cracker sellers face every year, we had submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner two months back. Again these issues have cropped up.”
The Supreme Court on Monday had banned sale of firecrackers in Delhi NCR, saying that there was “direct evidence of deterioration of air quality at alarming levels” every year during Diwali on account of bursting of firecrackers. A three-judge bench, headed by Justice A K Sikri, upheld the November 11, 2016 Supreme Court order, suspending all licences that permit sale of fireworks wholesale and retail within the territory of NCR.