As AQI goes from bad to poor in the Capital, worsening air quality recently led to the launch of an anti-cracker campaign, to inspect and crack down the sale of polluting crackers. But, cracker sellers in Delhi-NCR say that they have already been experiencing a low footfall with people not visiting their shops to buy even green crackers. “We have sanitised out shops, all the boys working in our shop wear mask, we try to maintain all standards of social distancing and sell only green crackers. Still, our sale of crackers this festive season is two times lesser than last few years. People are not coming to buy crackers in numbers as they used to earlier,” says Pawan Kumar Goyal, owner of Balaji Fireworks in Mangolpuri.
Some sellers claim that owing to the pandemic, production of crackers has been severely impacted. Rajesh Khurrana, owner of Mayur Patakha Shop in Paschim Vihar, says, “The production of crackers usually happens during summer, but this summer factories remained closed due to lockdown. So the supply of green crackers couldn’t be generated unlike previous years. At this point, I only have a limited stock, which I thought will get exhausted prior to Diwali. But, the demand is even lower than the supply. Till now I have sold only 10 to 15% of what we usually used to sell by this time ahead of Diwali every year. Also, the awareness of green crackers being available in the market is quite less. After 2016, the ban on crackers has been almost a constant, but people haven’t learnt much about green and eco-friendly crackers.”
Most cracker sellers point towards the current dip in the economy as a reason why customers aren’t splurging as much on crackers this festive season. “The sale is extremely low because people are on a very tight budget since a lot of them have either suffered losses in their business or lost jobs or are facing salary cuts. So obviously no one want to spend so much in a thing like crackers! Their pocket isn’t allowing them to indulge in them,” says Vishal Kumar from Shivam Fireworks in Rohini, sector 16.
Reiterating that the sale is on an all time low, Rajan Rajpal, owner of Yash Pal and Sons in Gharoli Chowk, Gurugram, says, “We decided to keep only certified green patakhas this time, to encourage those who are environment conscious to also buy these. But, we haven’t been able to even sell our old stock, leave apart the new one! No new crackers have been introduced this time either. Customers are very few, and even those who come in, are preferring to buy a very limited quantity. So if someone used to buy stock worth ₹2,000 from us, that person is only buying crackers for ₹500. Don’t know how our Diwali will be of this lull continues.”
Author tweets @FizzyBuddha
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