The city's vendors and cracker enthusiasts won't let a little thing like a law stop them from breaking all rules regarding sound decibel levels this Diwali
When it comes to festivity in the city, rules are regularly broken, as this reporter discovered when she visited the wholesale firecracker market near Mohammad Ali Road, which was packed with people checking out shops stocking banned firecrackers that exceed the decibel limit, like rassi and sutli bombs.
As per the Noise Rules Amendment, 2010, crackers that exceed the 125 decibel mark are not to be manufactured, distributed or used.
Despite being banned, bombs that exceed the decibel limit are freely
sold by vendors across the city, who procure them in black.
Pics/ Maleeva Rebello
But even if a shopkeeper does not stock the banned crackers, like at Essa Bhai's, where there were no bombs available, hawkers make sure they make them available in black. "There is a government law as per which we are not allowed to sell noisy crackers. We have all silent crackers," said the salesperson at the store. But sure enough, on the footpath outside were a long trail of hawkers where bombs were available in the price range of Rs 60 to 100 for a box of six. Salim Ansari, a roadside firecracker vendor said, "The bombs used to cost Rs 40, but with the price rise and the difficulty in procuring them due to the law, we have increased the price."
Javed Mansoor, another vendor said, "Most people want bombs and the chains of 1,000 plus crackers. We make those available to people at rates ranging from Rs 200 to Rs 1,800. We are also open to good deals with customers who buy in bulk as this is a wholesale market."
Piyush Thakur (25) who had come all the way from Bhayander to buy rassi and atom bombs said, "My family and friends like to burst crackers during Diwali. While my family like sparklers and flowerpots, my friends like to burst noisy crackers. I have brought 20 packets of bombs for Rs 1,500, and the vendor's guarantee that they will all make maximum noise and burst well."
Eighteen year-old Gaurav Mathur, another shopper, put the blame on the government. "I don't know why the government is not allowing us to have fun. Thankfully the bombs are easily available in the black market. Most people are aware of this."
And how do vendors procure the banned crackers? Ansari said, "We get the bombs from old contacts who supply them to us without the knowledge of the officials. The bombs are the most popular firecrackers. We have to ask our sources to make more of them to meet the huge demand."
Mansoor added, "When officials come for checks we know how to deal with that. Bombs are only available easily in black near Mohammad Ali Road. We are just making our customers, who like to burst crackers happy."
Meanwhile, V Malusare, a police officer who came to the area for a surprise check professed ignorance. "We have received complaints that bombs are being sold here. But whenever we come for checks we do not find them."
This, even though we saw illegal crackers being sold freely.