Workers prepare the slushy Shahid Minar ground on Monday for the rescheduled Baji Bazar. Picture by Bibhas Lodh
Blame the October rains if the “rocket” goes “phoosh” and the decibel demons remain muted this Diwali.
The freaky weather has forced organisers of Bazi Bazaar, the weeklong firecracker fair on the Shahid Minar ground, to postpone its opening by two days because of short supply. They hoped that the rain-hit manufacturers would be able to send adequate stocks before the rescheduled Wednesday morning opening of the makeshift market.
Babla Roy, the chairman of the All Bengal Firecracker Seller Samiti, explained the delay: “Once a cracker is prepared, the manufacturers need at least two-three days of sunshine to dry the gum and sulphur and charcoal powders to get the best out of the product. Most of them said their products aren’t ready because it rained almost every day the past three weeks. We hope the consignments would start reaching us by Tuesday.”
Factories at Nungi and Champahati in South 24-Parganas are the biggest suppliers of crackers to Calcutta.
The inclement weather had forced the manufacturing units into a slo-mo mode. “It had rained so much, the crackers are not drying properly. We have not been able to test most of the crackers. So we decided not to experiment with new products and rely on time-tested safe and old products,” said Saikat Jana, the owner of Maa Kali Fire Works in Nungi.
Other than that, none of the 62 stalls was ready when Metro visited the muddy fairground on Monday afternoon.
A wooden ramp has been built in front of the shops but the ankle-deep mud holes remained unattended.
“Had it not rained last Friday, the fairground would have been ready. It is so muddy now that the trucks carrying the wooden planks have not been able to enter the field. We have asked the military authorities to allow us to cover the mud with sand,” Roy said.
Many retailers have shelved their plan to set up shop at the fair. “Eighteen cracker-sellers have backed out over the past two days. We will have to start the fair with just 62 stalls,” said Santanu Datta, the treasurer of the organising committee.
Shoppers, too, were caught off guard by the delay. “Not a single stall is ready. Kali Puja is barely five days away. When are we supposed to buy crackers?” said Debshankar Sinha of Gariahat who had gone to Bazi Bazaar with his nine-year-old son Debritam on Monday.