KOCHI: Diwali is here but the festive spirit clearly isn’t. The Supreme Court verdict banning the use of string crackers has come as a dampener with cracker sale plummeting by over 50 per cent in the city.
Though Diwali isn’t prominent in Ernakulam like as in Southern districts, the festival is still celebrated with gusto by some, including the North Indian community. But, the SC verdict has taken the sheen off festivities this time.
According to Fireworks Dealers’ Association, the verdict has affected not just their Diwali sale but also cast a shadow on their future sales too. “The cracker sale in the city has been badly affected. We hope to register at least 50 per cent of what we did last year. Though we had already hoarded the stock for Diwali, people are scared to buy it as the verdict stipulates stringent action,” says Unnikrishnan, treasurer, Fireworks Dealers’ Association.
He said the ban on string crackers has dealt a blow to the traders. “String cracker (‘mala padakkam’) are the most sought-after item during Diwali. Banning it takes the sheen off our sale and festivities. Also, there is a ban on chemicals like Barium Nitrate, which is commonly used in flower pots and ground chakras. The ban on this chemical means the most in-demand items are out of the market,” he added.
The association says the effect of the Supreme Court verdict will be only evident once the festival season starts. “Though we saw its effect during Diwali, the real aftermath will be evident in the next few months, once the festival season kicks off in temples and churches. But, the SC verdict is unclear on that aspect. We have decided to hold a meeting on November 10 to discussthis and a review petition will be submitted at the Supreme Court,” says Lenin, general secretary, Fireworks Dealers Association.
In the wake of the SC verdict, the Kerala State Pollution Control Board has come out supporting the verdict. “We appreciate the Supreme Court order and will be following the guidelines given by the Court.
The first part of the order will be followed by checking the air quality before and after Diwali,” said K Sajeevan, chairman of Kerala State Pollution Control Board, in an earlier interview with Express.