SC ruling on firecrackers: Industry fears loss of sales, appeals government to expedite issue of temporary licences

Mumbai: The Supreme Court imposing stringent rules on sale and use of firecrackers ahead of Diwali is likely to impact sales of the mostly unorganized industry that is around Rs 20,000 crore per annum.

The Supreme Court Tuesday ruled that only firecrackers with reduced emission and decibel levels will be allowed to sell during all festivals that too with strict time limits.

On Diwali, firecrackers could be burst between 8 pm and 10 pm, while people can burst firecrackers on the Christmas and the New Year days between 11:55 pm and 12:30 am, the apex court ruled.

It also stated categorically that crackers cannot be sold online and warned of strict punishment for any violation.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

"Annual firecracker sales amount to Rs 15,000-20,000 crore, of which at least Rs 5,000 crore come from Chinese imports. The apex court order will definitely impact sales, but is difficult to quantify losses as the industry operates mostly unorganised," Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of the Confederation of All-India Traders told PTI.

He also indicated that crackers are sold through permanent traders and also by those with temporary licences ahead of Diwali.

"We appeal to the government to expedite the issue of temporary licences so as to help part-time/temporary sellers of firecrackers to liquidate their stocks," he added.

Crackers imported from China, he said, are more toxic and the apex court ruling aimed at improving the quality of air during the festival season is a good move.

When asked about online sales of crackers, he pointed out that over the last two-three years most online sales have been going on unchecked, and this ban on the online sale of crackers will ensure better compliance.

Kumar Rajagopalan of the Retailers Association of India said the apex court order is good for the environment as the order will keep a check on sale as well as on the quality of the crackers sold.

On the impact on modern trade or online trade, he pointed out that most firecracker sales happen through temporary outlets in the neighbourhoods that are set up during
festivals. Modern trade, typically does not sell firecrackers.

He, however, said e-commerce sites will have to ensure all their sellers have the right information regarding the apex court order.

E-commerce leaders Flipkart and Amazon declined to comment on the issue. Both sites have not listed any firecrackers on their platform.


Updated Date: Oct 23, 2018 19:21 PM

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