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We only support swadeshi crackers

28th October 2016

- The Asian Age

We only support swadeshi crackers

With two days to go for Diwali, their best time to earn money, shopkeepers from around the city including Sadar Bazaar, Old Delhi, Gaffar Market are treading with caution over calls to ‘boycott’ Chinese goods.

Just two days to go for Diwali, and the heat is (still) on Chinese fireworks. Calls for the boycott of Chinese firecrackers have grown steadily louder.

“We don’t know much about the issue but we have read a lot about how China is supporting Pakistan. So, why would we sell Chinese fireworks?” questions Sanjay, owner of Palak Fireworks at Bazar Pai Walan. The Delhi government has put together 11 special teams to enforce the ban on these firecrackers — raiding shops and confiscating them. And just like Sanjay, owners of the over hundred firecracker shops, in what is one of the biggest wholesale firecracker markets in the Capital, claim to have vowed not to stock any Chinese products this time — “even if it means incurring losses”.

Sumit, a shop owner at Ganesh Nagar, leaning on a stack of firecracker boxes quips, “Yes, we are losing business, but we only support swadeshi goods now. Customers often come and ask for fancy Chinese crackers — water bombs, missiles, pop-up bombs. But this time, we have none of them.”

In September, the Delhi government had called for a complete ban on Chinese firecrackers as they were “unsafe, hazardous to use and had a detrimental effect on people’s health”. Talking about the same, Sanjay adds, “Low-cost Chinese fireworks that used to find their way into India contained potassium chlorate, which is highly unstable and can explode with just a sharp jolt. Chemicals in Chinese firecrackers are also toxic, causing skin diseases and triggering allergies. Indian fireworks, by contrast, use potassium and sodium nitrates, which are more inert and, therefore, safer. Fireworks containing potassium chlorate or perchlorate will burn brighter and last longer, but will be more unstable. This is the main reason behind the ban. Not only did they cause more pollution but they were also very dangerous when it came to the safety aspect of the customer. Customers used to complain a lot. So, we have fully boycotted the sale of Chinese fireworks this year.”

In Gaffar market there is a complete ban on selling of any kind of fireworks, informs Bilal, a shopkeeper from the same locality. “Most of the shopkeepers have told their customers that they would be putting up cracker stalls two-three days before the festival and one will be able to find all kinds of crackers. But I highly doubt that there would be any Chinese ones there.”

On another note, a shopkeeper from Gupta Market informs, “Even when we have tried our best to sell Indian made crackers, which are slightly expensive, we have had people asking for Chinese goods merely because they are cheaper. We don’t know what to do now.”

According to DU student, Vishal, who was on a shopping spree purchasing firecrackers at Bazar Pai Walan: “We, as consumers, are aware about the fact that Indian fireworks are expensive compared to the Chinese ones. But personally I would rather buy less crackers this time around and cause less pollution than buy Chinese crackers.”

Another consumer Rahul who was searching for firecrackers in INA says, “I respect and honour my nation. Hence, I am looking for fireworks made in India. But as a common man I also want to point out that Chinese goods are pocket-friendly, hence, they grew in popularity among the masses. It would be great if our government considers bringing down the prices of Indian made crackers so that everyone can buy and enjoy them.”

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