Green crackers will be small in size, but high in price
By reducing the size of crackers and replacing the contents of crackers with less harmful chemicals, Green Diwali can reduce air and noise pollution this year, but the downside of this green initiative is that it will cost more dear to partygoers.
On Wednesday, Punjab’s Environment Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer had announced that only green crackers would be allowed on Diwali and that too from 8-10 p.m. only.
A raffle to give temporary licenses for setting up green cracker stalls is also underway in various districts of Punjab.
A conversation with cracker dealers revealed that the size of the crackers has been reduced and even the polluting chemicals in the crackers have been replaced with low potency chemicals in order to meet the criteria for green crackers.
For example, the size of the new flowerpot cracker (‘anar’), which is a major source of pollution, has been reduced this year to 4 inches from some 6-7 inches last year.
The colored sparkler (phuljhari) makes maximum pollution which is now out of the market and now only golden or silver sparklers are available.
The size of comets that give a twinkling view in the sky has also changed.
“The comet size has now been reduced to 3 inches which will erupt at a shorter distance in the sky and therefore pollution levels will be at a minimum. On top of that the classic bombs are 8 ply compared to 11-12 ply which was available before. This will control the noise pollution. Many crackers that used to explode for a few minutes creating a loud noise have completely disappeared from the market,” said Tribhuvan Thaper, a former cracker dealer in Ludhiana.
For festival revelers, this Green Diwali will come with a price, literally.
A pack of 10 ‘chakris’ which was sold at Rs 10 earlier is now available at Rs 120, while flowerpot crackers are now priced at around Rs 70 per pack (pack of 10) from Rs 45 l ‘last year.
The price of sparklers has now risen to around Rs 30 for a 10-piece pack from Rs 12 for a similar pack last year.
The peak firecracker sale is expected to take place next weekend as Diwali falls on Monday, October 24 this year.
In Fazilka, license bundles for 67 firecracker stands in Abohar, Jalalabad, Balluana and Fazilka were raffled on Thursday, while in Ludhiana, the licenses will be raffled on Friday. A total of 37 licenses will be issued in the urban area of Ludhiana alone.
This year, against an average of 70 to 75 applications for cracker stalls, more than 250 applications have already been received in Ludhiana.
Sources revealed that many new applicants with no cracker experience have applied for temporary licenses and these applications are being reviewed by Ludhiana Police Commissioner Kaustubh Sharma.
Sources say some customers still ask for the same old crackers. “Those who still have stock from the previous year may be able to oblige, otherwise these crackers are not on the market now. However, it is only on Diwali that the picture will be clear whether the green cracker protocol has been followed or not,” a cracker dealer told Ludhiana on condition of anonymity.
Kaustubh Sharma said, “We will abide by the licensing rules, and those with experience will be given preference.”