Restrictions by the government and the green tribunal over bursting of crackers have affected the sale of firecrackers by nearly 70 % causing huge losses to traders during Diwali festivities. Besides, the corona-induced economic slowdown has also hit the buying capacity of the people. Fear of coronavirus is also keeping the celebrations a subdued affair.
The traders rued that authorities are issuing different directives and this has caused a lot of confusion over the ban on crackers, green crackers, 2-hour window to burst crackers.
While the green tribunal ordered bursting of only green crackers, the government direction has added salt to the injuries, said the traders. The government has permitted bursting of crackers only for two hours-8-10 pm, and customers coming are asking for green crackers only, they added. People are also buying a limited quantity of crackers keeping the time allotment in view, said a trader.
On the eve of Diwali, the biggest crackers wholesale market in Halalpura near Lalghati wore a deserted look. Earlier, the market remained jam-packed ahead of Diwali and people had to struggle hard to their lay hands on their favourite crackers. With sales down by 70 per cent this festival, the traders are hoping that they might find buyers during the marriage season and other celebrations.
Dharmendra Sabnani, a trader at Halalpura said they are adhering to all guidelines related to corona and also following the directions of the NGT regarding green crackers. We have only brought green crackers to sell, however, besides Covid-19 fear, there is a lot of confusion over the ban, timing of bursting crackers, and for these reasons the customers are not turning up, he added.
Nandlal Chhagani, another shopkeeper in the market said people are avoiding visiting markets due to fear of corona and also the confusion prevailing over new rules have dissuaded them. A very few customers are turning up and they too are buying just for the sake of custom, he added.
Mahipal Meena, a trader in Bittan market said that wholesale traders are not in trouble, but it is the small scale shopkeepers whose sales have been severely hit. “We are getting a very few customers and we do not have resources to bear the loss during the festivals,” said Meena.
Due to separate orders from NGT, state government, district administration the people are in a state of confusion as to whether they will be allowed to burst crackers as long as they want, he said.