Mysore/Mysuru: The COVID crisis, rain and the sudden death of Puneeth Rajkumar seem to have dampened the spirits of people celebrating Deepavali this year, going by the trend of sale of crackers in the city.
However, cracker sellers are hoping that business will pick up from now on, with the 3-day festival of lights commencing from today and also on clear rain-less skies. The authorities have allowed cracker sellers to do business for five days from Nov. 1 to Nov. 5 which could be extended by another five days if sellers come up with a request. The sellers are allowed to sell only green crackers as per a direction from the Supreme Court.
Stalls have come up at J.K. Grounds in the heart of the city, along the JLB Road at Vidyaranyapuram, Hebbal Industrial Area, near Bandanthamma Temple on Kantharaj Urs Road in Kuvempunagar and at several other points. People were seen visiting cracker stalls closer to their homes right from today morning as the three-day Deepavali festival began with the customary rituals.
MCC Commissioner G. Lakshmikantha Reddy said that licences have been given only for the sale of green crackers. Pointing out that though sale of crackers can be allowed for 10 days till Nov. 10 as per the fresh set of Government guidelines, the MCC has given licence to sell only for five days (till Nov.5). However, the MCC will consider extending the permission, if sellers place a request, he added.
Meanwhile, Sudarshan of Santosh Crackers located on Rane Madras Factory Road in Hebbal told Star of Mysore that his cracker stall holds a licence for selling crackers throughout the year. “We have been in the business for 25 years and there are only two licenced cracker stalls in the city for throughout-the-year cracker sales,” he said.
Maintaining that cracker sales were not on the expected lines as of yesterday, Sudarshan said that he hopes that business will pick up from now on. Gift boxes with prices ranging from Rs.300 to Rs.3,500 are available. A vast range of loose crackers too are available.
Anand of Jupiter Stores, also located on Rane Madras Factory Road, said that sales are yet to pick up. Stating that he sources his crackers from manufacturing units at Tamil Nadu’s Sivakasi, Anand said that gift boxes are available at his shop which contain 20 to 45 items.
Vijaykumar, a cracker stall owner at JK Grounds said green crackers were mandatory last year too and last year, sales took a hit as there were confusions on classification and categorization of green crackers. But this year, all cracker boxes carry green labels, which has ended the confusion, he said.
Government issues guidelines
- Only sale of green crackers is permitted in accordance with Supreme Court directions and sale of any other variants is banned.
- Sellers should meet all mandatory requirements such as obtaining a licence or NoC from authorities.
- Sale of green crackers can be permitted till Nov. 10.
- All licence holders should do business only at the specified spots and period.
- Stalls should be opened only at grounds or at other vacant spaces that are far away from residential areas.
- Stalls should have good ventilation and a distance of 6 metres should be maintained between any two cracker shops.
- All stalls are required to mandatorily display the licence.
- Also, all stalls should be sanitised every day as a precautionary and safety measure.
- Besides, customers visiting stalls must be screened for body temperature and provided with sanitisers.
- The stall owners must ensure that there is no crowding during sales.
- Wearing a face mask and maintaining physical distancing is compulsory.
- Stall owners should follow all other standard Government directions.
- Adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour and compliance of all other Government SOPs on COVID precautionary measures is a must.