New Delhi: Delhi Police on Tuesday seized over 1,200 kg firecrackers and arrested 29 people for selling firecrackers illegally in the national capital.
The move came in line with the Supreme Court order, banning the sale and purchase of firecrackers in Delhi due to pollution concerns around Diwali.
"No firecracker shop in the capital would be allowed to open till November 1. We have seized more than 1,200 kg of firecrackers and made 29 arrests so far from various areas of Delhi. Dozens of firecracker shops were forced to shut on Tuesday," Delhi Police Spokesperson Madhur Verma said.
"We are following the apex court guidelines against shopkeepers found selling firecrackers and taking action as per law. The police is vigilant to ensure that no one violates the court directive," Verma told IANS.
According to him, five firecracker sellers were arrested from Sadar Bazar and Lahori Gate areas in the national capital. Dozens of others were nabbed in various areas of Delhi during surprise checks. "All SHOs have been directed to ensure that no one sells firecrackers."
Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Chinmoy Biswal said details from all SHOs were being collected to ascertain how many shops were found violating the court order and "action will be taken against the violators".
The Supreme Court on October 9 said that its last month's order -- which lifted its November 11, 2016 order, suspending all licences permitting the sale of firecrackers -- would now be effective from November 1. Diwali falls on October 19.
Firecracker traders and shopkeepers are, however, disappointed with the apex court ban, as they invested in procuring the stuff in huge quantities to sell during the ferstive season.
"I made bulk purchase of firecrackers worth nearly Rs 25 lakh from a manufacturer in advance, some three months before the Supreme Court ban. The court should have imposed this ban earlier. Then we would not have invested," Satyam Aggarwal, a shopkeeper from Sadar Bazar, told IANS.
Aggarwal said all his savings had gone down the drain, "much like other thousands of small and big shopkeepers" selling crackers.
"I do not have any option but to store the goods and try my luck in Diwali next year if there is no ban in 2018."
Another shopkeeper, Ram Singhal, asked if firecrackers were the only source of pollution in Delhi and NCR.
"What about trucks, buses, diesel and petrol cars, bikes, industrial pollution, garbage, cutting of trees? These should also be banned," Singhal said.