While the Supreme Court order allowing sale of firecrackers, though with caveats, this Diwali came as a breather to businessmen, who had to shut shop after the ban last year, some remain concerned if the sale over the next 15 days would be profitable.
While the Supreme Court order allowing sale of firecrackers, though with caveats, this Diwali came as a breather to businessmen, who had to shut shop after the ban last year, some remain concerned if the sale over the next 15 days would be profitable. Sitting in her thinly crowded store in Sadar Bazar, Himani Srivastava of Royal Fireworks told PTI the sales so far have been low, perhaps because many potential buyers would have anticipated the blanket ban would continue this year too.
“Although there is no ban this year, we are worried as we don’t know what to do with our old stock now, as these wouldn’t be up to the regulations (to be able to follow the court-mandated caveats). Diwali is still 15 days away but we can’t get new supplies by then. Let’s see what happens,” she said.
The Supreme Court order permitted “green” firecrackers and fixed a two-hour time period, from 8pm to 10pm, for bursting them on Diwali and other festivals. The permissible limit of sound and smoke of crackers will be approved by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), the court said.
Despite a number of conditions prescribed by the Court, Satish Manocha of SM Trading Company in Model Basti is hopeful for a better season as “at least there is no ban this year”.”We are relieved, as last year they had completely banned the sale. Now our aim is to clear our stock that couldn’t be sold last Diwali. We will obviously run the business as the Supreme Court has directed, we are yet to receive clear instruction so everything will be decided after that,” Manocha, who has been in the fireworks business for last 20 years, said.
Worried about a probable repetition of the ban, Abhishek Sehgal of GSP Fireworks in Ramnagar also did not order a fresh stock this year and is relying on last year’s. Having faced a “normal sale” so far, they expect it to get better near Diwali. “We hope people will follow the Court’s instructions and the sale would get better. It is also a relief that no temporary licences has been issued this year, otherwise small seasonal shops take away our business,” Sehgal said.
He added that now that there is a clarity about the sale, they will order new items according to demand. While Sehgals are hopeful for a better season, especially given the non-issuance of temporary licences, Manocha, who is primarily focused on wholesale, feels let down as there wouldn’t be many large purchases. “The business so far is not very good. Dussehra went well, but without temporary licensees we are not hoping for a great sale during Diwali,” he said.