Mysore/Mysuru: Several cracker traders shut their stalls at various locations in city this morning after Police and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) officials strictly insisted on selling only green crackers and refused to allow the sale of conventional crackers.
A trader fell at the feet of Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Dr. A.N. Prakash Gowda, who visited J.K. Grounds, where around a dozen cracker stalls are set up, to allow them to sell the firecrackers this time. But the DCP flatly refused to give them permission to sell conventional crackers and asked them to sell only green crackers.
He asked traders to take out the stock of non-green crackers from the stalls and return the same to the manufacturing companies before the Cops seize non-green crackers.
No customers, only officials
Since from the beginning, J.K. Grounds was abuzz with activities not with the citizens to buy crackers but with inspection by officials of various Government agencies. Armed with the Karnataka High Court orders that only green crackers must be sold in shops, officers from KSPCB came to the grounds to check the stock in shops. The officers, led by Kavitha, Scientific Officer, Nubia, Vanitha and Vijaya, all Environment Officers attached to the KSPCB, looked for Quick Response (QR) codes, details of license of manufacturer and the green sticker on every bundle. However, they were shocked to see that hardly 25 percent to 30 percent of the stock did have all the specifications laid down by the State Government in its copy of order submitted to the HC yesterday.
All are green crackers
Traders showed certificates given by the cracker manufacturers of Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu that the crackers manufactured by them will comply with Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI). But, the stock did not have the green cracker print since the State Government’s order in this effect was issued very late.
Not ready to buy their theory, Kavitha said she will not allow any single cracker without those specifications and asked traders to remove the stock of conventional crackers from their shops.
State Govt. responsible…
A few stall owners claimed that there are over 1,200 cracker manufacturers at Sivakasi and 400-450 are registered companies who have followed all conditions laid down by Supreme Court in 2018. However, the rest of them have not put the green stickers on the stock. They also showed the letters given by the manufacturers which the KSPCB officials refused to accept. Traders contended that all the crackers manufactured since 2019 are green crackers but specifications are not printed on each and every box. Besides, the State Government insisted on the sale of green crackers only last week but by that time, they had bought the stock from the TN manufacturers. “The State Government also created confusion for traders and public. First, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa announced the total ban on sale and bursting of crackers. After sometime, he changed his statement that only green crackers will be allowed to light. We would have definitely followed the Government guidelines had they were issued at least two to three months before.”
Go by SC ruling
Kavitha told SOM that she will go by orders of the SC, Government of Karnataka and National Green Tribunal. The Karnataka HC has allowed only green crackers as the smoke emanating from conventional crackers will cause health problems for recovered and recovering COVID patients. “We will allow the sale of only green crackers and not conventional crackers”.
Suresh, a trader at J.K. Grounds, said trader like him have invested Rs. 4 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh on crackers and preventing them selling saying that they did not have HC specifications will cause them huge loss. “We request the Government to allow this time. From next year, we will sell only green crackers.”
With no respite from Police and KSPCB officials, traders with heavy heart shifted conventional crackers to the godown in goods tempos with a hope of returning to manufacturers. Some of them emptied the stall itself as they found no meaning to do business with only 25 percent of crackers.
The Police also advised them to return non-green crackers to manufacturers for refund of money. A few of them were in tears for their condition and blamed the State Government for taking such a major decision at the eleventh hour.
After J.K. Grounds inspection, KSPCB officials went to inspect the stock at Devaraj Urs Multi-purpose Stadium (adjacent to Doddakere Exhibition Grounds), Kuvempunagar, Ramakrishnanagar, Chamundipuram, Hebbal and other parts of the city where the cracker stalls are put up.