New Delhi: Dozens of shops were found selling firecrackers in Delhi on Tuesday as police moved to ensure strict implementation of a Supreme Court order banning the sale and purchase of crackers in the capital due to pollution concerns around Diwali.
No firecracker shop in the capital would be allowed to open till October 31. Dozens were forced to shut on Tuesday, Delhi Police spokesperson Madhur Verma said.
"We are following the apex court guidelines against shopkeepers found selling firecrackers and are also taking action as per the law. The police is on tight vigil to ensure that no one violates the court guidelines," Verma told IANS.
He said action had been against shopkeepers who were caught selling crackers.
"Five such shopkeepers were caught from Sadar Bazar and Lahori Gate areas. Dozens of others were found (selling firecrackers) in New Delhi district areas during surprise checks. All SHOs have been directed to ensure that no one sells firecrackers."
Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Chinmoy Biswal said details from all SHOs were being collected to ascertain how many shops were found violating the court order and "action will be taken against the violators".
The court imposed the ban on October 9 - upholding a November 11, 2016 order, suspending all licences that "permit sale of fireworks wholesale and retail within the territory of NCR".
The Supreme Court ban will remain in place till November 1. Diwali falls on October 19. The sale of firecrackers shoots up two to three days before the festival.
Firecracker traders and shopkeepers are disappointed with the police action.
They said without firecrackers there will be no Diwali celebrations. An analysis by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India's nodal pollution watchdog, says air and noise pollution in Delhi after Diwali last year was found to have increased alarmingly.
"I have firecrackers in bulk for nearly Rs 25 Lakh from a manufacturer in advance, some three months before the Supreme Court ban. The court should have imposed this ban earlier. We would not have invested," Satyam Aggarwal, a shopkeeper from Sadar Bazar, told IANS.
Aggarwal said all his savings had gone down the drain, "much like other thousands of small and big shopkeepers" selling crackers.
"I do not have any option left to store the goods and would try my luck waiting for Diwali next year 2018 to sell them if there is no ban."
Another shopkeeper, Ram Singhal, asked if firecrackers were the only source of pollution in Delhi and NCR.
"What about trucks, buses, diesel and petrol cars, bikes, industrial pollution, garbage, cutting of trees. These should also be banned."