A court order can't stop Delhi from celebrating Diwali
Despite the ban on firecrackers in Delhi, you can still procure some legally. It won't be easy though: you will have to undertake a six-eight hour journey costing few thousands. If you like comfort, there's always online shopping. Indians have once again showed their talent for 'jugaad'. Considering the situation, will the SC order achieve what it intended to: a clean Delhi?
On October 9, the SC issued its ruling on a year-old ban on firecracker sale in Delhi: it will be lifted on November 1. Diwali is next week. The ban was enforced last November after Diwali 2016 left the capital struggling to breathe. Air quality deteriorated by "as much as 13 times the safe limit". The apex court has regulatory conditions in place though.
Delhiites can still choose to shop from their nearest legal markets: a drive to Aligarh (140km), Alwar (158km), Ambala (202km), Bijnor (163km), Hissar (172km), Mathura (162km) and Moradabad (180km) will do the trick. Expenses on fuel and miscellaneous items will reportedly come up to a few thousand. The up and down journey will take up to eight hours.
Many Delhiites are turning online to get their share of firecrackers. Some manufacturers are even offering discounts. Websites like buyonlinecrackers.com, crackersindia.com, cockbrand.in, ayyanonline and even eBay are experiencing high customer traffic. Surprisingly, one site still says, "Delivery only in Delhi and NCR." Just one has notified customers that "Due to Supreme Court's order crackers are ban in Delhi NCR".
Look for a loophole and you'll find it. Like Delhi BJP spokesperson Tejinder Singh Bagga explained, "the court has only banned the sale of firecrackers…not on buying or bursting them." So Bagga plans to distribute crackers worth Rs. 50,000 to slum children in Harinagar. Meanwhile, many Delhiites have said they have crackers left over from previous celebrations. They can legally burst them, no problem.
On the other aside, the Sivakasi industry is staring at losses of Rs. 1,000cr. Business in Gurugram alone is worth around Rs. 20cr. Traders have been left in the lurch. Many have already made advance payments to suppliers. Some in Kondli and Jama Masjid have managed to operate in secret. "It's going to be tough but we'll work around the court order," said one.
The SC order was well-intentioned, but issues are several. Firstly, there's not much time for authorities to conduct checks. Religious sentiments were hurt as people took it as an attack on Hinduism. As a shopkeeper pointed out, "We cause pollution only for a week, but vehicles pollute the city 24x7, 365 days. What about that?" Diwali will tell if Delhi has learnt its lesson.