Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

Even though the Orissa High Court, on Monday, gave its nod to the sale and use of green crackers on Diwali, firecracker traders in the State stare at uncertainties in business owing to the restrictions imposed by the SRC as well as the rider enumerated by the Court.

The Orissa HC on Monday had ended all speculations on the chances of bursting firecrackers during Diwali by allowing the sale and use of green crackers, while hearing a petition filed by the All Odisha Fireworks Dealers Association and others. However, while paving the way for bursting crackers, the Court made it categorical that only Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) approved green crackers will be allowed for use in the State.

Following the decision of the High Court, the Odisha government issued a comprehensive set of guideline on the use and sale of only green firecrackers. 

Moreover, the SRC also announced a two-hour time slot for the bursting of firecrackers from 8 pm to 10 pm on Diwali. 

Such restrictions have become a cause of concern for the firecracker traders. 

The traders are reeling under stress even after getting a go-ahead for the sale of crackers as the pronouncement of the order was belated. The traders got the green signal only on November 1 while Diwali is falling on November 4. 

As a result, the traders got only a day or two for selling the firecrackers. Under such circumstances, the traders are anxious if they will be able to make out a good profit in these few days. Moreover, they are also worried if the customers will purchase firecrackers in good quantity as the time frame for bursting the crackers has been restricted to just two hours.

"We had hoped to get the license for selling crackers after the Court passed its order. However, we didn't get one. We have to feed our family for which we are selling diyas (earthen lamps) and other ceremonial items," said a trader from Jatani.

Another worried trader from Balasore said, "We would make good money by selling crackers, but this year we won't be able to get much due to the restrictions. It is not possible to import green crackers from Kashipur and sell those in just about 72 hours."

According to the SRC guideline, the traders/dealers, who have obtained or are able to produce a certificate from the Petroleum & Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO) after due inspection of their existing stock, certifying that the green fireworks stocks in their possession confirm to the definition and formulation proposed by CSIR-NEERI, will be considered as genuine and shall be allowed to sell their products.

Following the announcement of the guidelines, traders in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack thronged the DCP office to obtain a licence for selling firecrackers. However, the traders still stare at uncertainty as within a limited time frame they won't be able to carry out the procedures of procuring a license to sell crackers.

While the COVID scare is looming over the State, the Director, Health Services has urged all to follow the guidelines strictly and burst only green crackers in less quantity in an effort to restrict the transmission of the virus. 

"Bursting limited number of crackers will be beneficial for all as it will restrict pollution. Everyone is requested to follow the formal Diwali safety guidelines along with the new SRC guideline. This will be beneficial for the environment as well as everyone's health," said Bijoy Mohapatra, Director, Health Services.