Cracker wholesalers on stir

Sonari resident Ashok Singh and his two kids had come to Jugsalai on Sunday to buy crackers but didn't even get a diya. Having waited for over an hour, Singh returned dejected.

By Our Correspondent in Jamshedpur
  • Published 16.10.17
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DAMP MOOD: Children outside closed cracker shops at Jugsalai in Jamshedpur on Sunday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta

Jamshedpur: Sonari resident Ashok Singh and his two kids had come to Jugsalai on Sunday to buy crackers but didn't even get a diya. Having waited for over an hour, Singh returned dejected.

"I had come to Jugsalai to buy crackers. I come here every year. But this time, I had to return empty-handed with my children," the Tata Steel employee said. Like Singh, there were hundreds of customers and scores of retailers who had turned up to buy crackers but found all shops closed.

All the four cracker wholesalers at Jugsalai kept their shutters down on Sunday in protest against alleged administration highhandedness.

The move comes a day after SDO Madhvi Mishra sealed two godowns after raids revealed that both had stocked over 15,000kg of crackers instead of the permissible 1,500kg. While wholesaler Ramawatar Gulati had stockpiled 15,000kg at his godown, Ritesh Gulati had kept 16,000kg at his Sundarnagar storehouse.

"A wholesale trader can stock 1,500kg of crackers while a retailer can keep 600kg. During raids, we found that both the dealers stocked more than 15,000kg each. We cannot risk the lives of people by allowing the traders to keep thousands of kilograms of explosives in a congested area, especially in a place like Jugsalai," said Mishra while talking to The Telegraph.

A wholesaler said they decided to keep their shops shut till the administration stops interfering in their business.

"We have issued about 150 temporary licenses to retailers who can sell crackers at make-shift shops at G-town ground in Bistupur and also at Aambagar ground in Sakchi. We will not allow anyone to sell crackers in Jugsalai," the SDO said, adding that the wholesalers could get relief only from the court.

According to sources, the district administration took the step in the wake of the September 24 blaze mishap at an illegal cracker unit in nearby Baharagora block that claimed nine lives.