Chinese crackers in circulation despite curbs

Chinese crackers are easily available in Delhi’s bustling fireworks wholesale market in Sadar Bazar, exposing all official claims about restricting the unlicenced imported products.

Many traders in the Sadar Bazar said it would be hard to weed out Chinese crackers completely from the Indian market despite an import ban imposed last month.

Sunil Kumar, a trader of Chinese crackers said, “The consignments of Chinese crackers that arrived long back have to be sold. No new orders are being placed as customs officials are vigilant.”

A salesman at K J Traders said, “Chinese crackers are cheaper and fit the budget of the buyers. What is wrong if consumer dictates the rules in a market?”

In the last week of September, the central government issued a notification restricting import of made in China crackers. But the rules remain ambiguous on whether there are curbs on sale of crackers imported from China, before the central government notification. 

A Sadar Bazar trader denied knowledge of any ban on sale of Chinese crackers. “I am not aware about the authorities’ decision to ban Chinese crackers,” he said.  

“A pack of Indian sparkles, chakris, and bomb cost between Rs 5-250, Rs 30-150 and Rs 50-350, respectively. The Chinese versions cost 25 to 35 per cent less,” said a salesman at the Mittal Fireworks.

“Cost of potassium chlorate used as raw material in Chinese cracker is only Rs 50 per kg as compared to the aluminium powder used in Indian crackers, which costs Rs 300 a kg,” said Rohail Kumar, proprietor of Rohail Fireworks, a cracker manufacturer.  

Fumes of Chinese crackers cause more pollution and are also harmful to human. The Indian crackers are safer.

“Hundreds of container loaded with Chinese crackers have already reached retail shops through distributors for Diwali,” said T Kannan, general secretary of The Indian Fireworks Manufacturers Association (TIFMA).

While talking to the Deccan Herald, Kannan added, “Cracker smugglers are working overtime to cash in on the Diwali demand.”

After China, India is the second largest producer of firecrackers in the world. The Indian cracker industry is worth Rs 3,000 crore and Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu alone caters to 80 per cent demand of the domestic demand.

“Tamil Nadu’s former chief minister Jayalalithaa had written in April to the Prime Minister’s Office asking the customs department to be more effective in checking of the  smuggling of Chinese crackers,” said Santhil Kumar, proprietor of Standard Fireworks which has production base in the state.

Santhil Kumar said, “The ban imposed by the Narendra Modi government on Chinese crackers shows that he has kept his promise made during an election rally in Tamil Nadu ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.”

Meanwhile, the cracker business in Sadar Bazar has peaked with less than 10 days to go for Diwali celebrations. Apart from the fireworks supply from Sivakasi-made crackers, units in Haryana towns are also hitting the shelves in the national capital region.

“This is our time to earn. Crackers are in very little in demand for the rest of the years,” said Rohail Kumar, who put the rough estimate of the market’s business at close to Rs 50-100 crore.

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