Crackers burn holes in family pockets, sales go blackOctober 27th, 2008 - 10:13 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANS) Diwali is just a night span away, but the multitude of brilliant fireworks lighting up the dark sky is visibly less this year - thanks to the exorbitant prices and Delhi Police issuing fewer licences to traders, giving rise to blackmarket in firecrackers. Many customers were seen haggling with vendors selling firecrackers in black market.
“I have gone to three markets in south Delhi. None of them was selling firecrackers. Finally I was able to find a vendor selling it in black here but at exorbitant prices,” said Rahul Rao, who was out with his family for Diwali shopping.
Rao had to settle for four small boxes of firecrackers for Rs.300, which normally would have cost 50 percent less.
Byomkesh Arora, another city resident, said he has not bought any firecrackers this year as they are too costly and “not easily available”.
Many vendors complained that the issuance of licences has become stringent this year, forcing them to either sell in black or not sell at all.
“I have been selling firecrackers for the last 15 years, but this Diwali the police have denied me a licence,” said Kaushal Gupta, a trader in R.K. Puram in south Delhi.
“Only 12 licenses have been issued in all in the market - unlike past years when even small roadside shops were given licences,” Gupta added.
A trader in Rani Bagh, in northwest Delhi, told IANS requesting anonymity: “I had stocked crackers worth nearly Rs.400,000 but the police refused to give me a license. What can I do? I am forced to sell it in black now.”
Keeping in mind the law and order situation and the spate of bomb blasts in Indian cities over the past few months, Delhi Police have become stricter while issuing licenses.
“The situation in Delhi remains sensitive and we cannot take any chances. License were issued to those who complied with our guidelines,” said a senior police official.
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