The East Singhbhum district administration on Wednesday stepped up heat on unscrupulous Diwali dealers conducting a surprise raid in Jugsalai and seizing firecrackers worth Rs 46,000 from a trader.
The afternoon crackdown, led by Dhalbhum SDO Subodh Kumar and DSP (law and order) Kanhaiyan Upadhyay, confiscated the "illegal" consignment while it was being loaded to goods carriers on Jugsalai-Tatanagar Road.
"The firecrackers were seized because the trader concerned failed to show us a licence on the spot. The consignment has been handed over to Jugsalai police for legal action," the SDO said, adding that similar raids would be conducted across the city to check hoarding of crackers.
Accused Ram Awtar Gulati, proprietor of RA Traders, countered the claim. "We will show our licence to the police. We were packing the consignment for a fireworks merchant (Manoj Choudhary) in Ranchi when it was seized. We were not doing anything illegal. The crackers are low-decibel and purchased from registered factories in Tamil Nadu. Besides, most were fancy fireworks like anar," he said.
Interestingly, there are only two traders in East Singhbhum with permanent licences to sell firecrackers and fireworks, and RA Traders is one of them.
DSP Upadhyay said the consignment had been seized under Section 285 of IPC (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter) and Section 9B (transport of explosive material) of the Explosives Act. "Police are, currently, investigating into the matter. They will scrutinise the licence, which was later produced by the trader," he added.
Besides permanent licences, the district administration also issues temporary licences to 300-odd shopkeepers only five days ahead of Diwali and in earmarked areas. This year, permits will be issued from Friday for Aam Bagan in Sakchi, G Town Ground in Bistupur, Golmuri food plaza, Sidhgora market, Bhalubasa Square, Kagalnagar Square in Sonari and Kadma market.
Additional district magistrate (law and order) Ajit Shanker said they were issuing special fire guidelines for cracker dealers this year. "More than 80-100 shops are set up at earmarked zones. We have made it mandatory for them to abide by certain fire safety norms. A list of dos and don'ts will be handed out."
Sources said the administration was pitching for use of fireproof wires and CFL bulbs, besides separate wiring and a main switch outside each shop, which will again be made of tin sheets and iron angles.