The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and ban imposed by the Delhi government have drastically reduced sales of firecrackers by 80 per cent in Gurugram this year, merchants have said.
Diwali will be celebrated this year on November 4 but the markets in Gurugram are still deserted.
However, the firecracker merchants in Gurugram are selling environmentally friendly fireworks -- 'green' crackers as mandated by the Supreme Court.
In Gurugram, the firecrackers are available for sale only at designated shops-cum-godowns in Gadoli and Kadipur area. No retail shops (with temporary license) are allowed to sell firecrackers. The Gurugram district has only 7-8 godowns.
Anil Nagpal, one of the fireworks merchants said, "Deaths due to Covid-19 have had a huge impact on the sale of firecrackers this year. The second wave of the Covid has claimed many lives, several people lost their near and dear ones due to which people are not buying firecrackers. People burst crackers in happiness and not in sadness".
Another reason is air pollution due to which firecracker businesses is going down.
"The profit margin is not good. We did not buy new stock of firecrackers for sale, we are selling old stocks this year. We have no hope of a revival in the firecracker business," he said.
The firecracker sellers claim that this time the manufacturers located in Sivakasi in Tami Nadu has supplied only green crackers.
The firecracker merchants claimed that people from Delhi-NCR and adjoining districts come to purchase firecrackers here in Gurugram.
"These are our valuable customers, they used to purchase firecrackers worth Rs 1-2 lakh but due to Covid, these clients are missing this time," said another firecracker merchant.
He said the pandemic has hit the people's income also.
"Earlier a customer who used to buy firecrackers of Rs 1 lakh, this year he is spending Rs 1,000-5,000 only. This means they are purchasing small," he added.
Meanwhile, several buyers said that the cause of pollution is not firecrackers but due to other activities.
"Vehicles, Construction works and stubble burning are also causing pollution," said Rohit Rao who has come from Delhi to buy firecrackers.
"Despite the government having imposed Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), dust can be seen all across Delhi-NCR. Government should take necessary measures to curb construction activities. Blaming firecrackers as the sole reason for pollution is wrong," he said.
"Few days are left in Diwali and air pollution has already increased, and this happened not only on Diwali. So we should not blame firecrackers behind the pollution," Naman Dalal a buyer said.
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