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Is SC's ban on sale of fireworks in Delhi-NCR any good? Sale of crackers still rampant in the city
Can you imagine the festival of lights – Diwali without fire-crackers? Obviously, you would say that the festival without crackers makes no sense as it has become part of our culture, a ritual which has been observed year after year.

But this Diwali, Delhitiies will not be able to celebrate the festival with crackers as the Supreme Court of India on October 9, issued an order banning the sale of crackers in Delhi-NCR. However, the court had made it clear that the ban doesn't mean a Diwali without crackers.

"We haven't stopped the bursting of crackers. That will happen. Sale had already taken place," a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice AK Sikri said.

It would mean that anyone who is enthusiastic about bursting crackers and is willing to acquire them legally will have to travel a distance of nearly 140 to 200 km from the eastern and southern peripheries of Delhi's bordering areas of Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Gurgaon. The apex court has banned the sale of fireworks in 21 districts surrounding Delhi which fall in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.

In order to buy crackers from the nearest markets which are selling them legally, residents of Delhi-NCR will have to drive down to Aligarh (140km), beyond Alwar (158km), Mathura (162km), Ambala (202km), Hissar (172km), Bijnor (163km) or Moradabad (180km), according to the report.

But, this option will prove much costlier as one would have to commute for six to eight hours up and down, also spending thousands of rupees on fuel and other travel related expenses.

However, let's assess, has this ban been effective in any way? I would say, not at all, as Delhiites are all geared up to light up toxics this Thursday.

A recent sting operation conducted by India Today has found that many traders are brazenly violating the top court's order, using homegrown ingenuity.

At the face of it, all cracker shops in Delhi-NCR are locked down, but when you dig through the facade, a lot of illegitimate underground cracker shops are still operational even offering home delivery. Yeah, you heard that right!! Surprised? Well, welcome to India.

India Today's undercover team found one Sajid in Farrukh Nagar area of Ghaziabad, who has turned his home into a fireworks warehouse. In no time, was he ready to home deliver crackers to the India Today team.

There is no need to go into further details on how illegal sale of fireworks is going on right under the nose of the authorities. After all, we all know how this country works.

Ironically, the top court's blunt remark and its order of banning the sale of firecrackers has affected many fireworks manufacturing units across the country.

According to reports, lakhs of fireworks manufacturers are likely to bear huge amount of losses after the Supreme Court's order.

The court's decision may clean-up the air quality of the national capital this Diwali but it has affected many people who are directly or indirectly involved in the trade of making and selling crackers.

According to the media report, Sivakasi, a town located in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is known as a fireworks manufacturing hub, where thousands of firecracker industries employ over 25,000 people with an estimated turnover of Rs 20 billion (US$310 million). But this year, Sivasaki's
firecracker factories may face a loss of more than Rs 1,000 crore.

"Diwali is the time we make maximum profits and the SC order will completely smash many units," Asai Thmabi, president of Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association, told Hindustan Times.

He further added, "We are worried about loss of jobs and livelihood options for people if firecrackers are banned in other cities too."

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