Tribune News Service
Amritsar, September 25
Ahead of Diwali, the Amritsar Improvement Trust (AIT) has decided to hold auction for vends for the temporary retail firecracker markets on its premises on September 29.
The firecracker market will be set up for 22 days from October 1. AIT Superintendent Engineer Rajiv Sekhri said sites had been finalised after receiving a request from the Police Commissionerate to allot space for the temporary markets.
Auction will be held for 70 vends in Ranjit Avenue and New Amritsar on September 29. As many as 20 vends will be set up in Ranjit Avenue. The reserve price for each vend has been fixed at Rs 30,000. In New Amritsar where 50 vends will be set up, the reserve price is Rs 50,000. Each vend will have an area of 300 square feet.
Last year, 50 vends were established on both locations through draw of lots. The change in delivery of allotment is believed to have been brought to escape the pressure of choice of location by traders.
As per the norms, each trader must possess licence which will be given by the Police Commissioner under the Explosives Act, permitting them to sell firecrackers in retail. Police Commissioners have the power to issue licences for a certain time period to permit the sale of firecrackers, which fall under the category of explosives. Similarly, the Union Government issues licences under the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Act for their storage.
Amritsar Fireworks Association president Harish Dhawan said members of different firecracker trader associations had met police officials in advance to avoid any last time glitch. He recalled that in the past few years, the traders had suffered losses on account of delay in setting up of markets and red tape.
He said normally after receiving allotment letters from the improvement trust, the allottees present these before the police authorities to verify the space to get an approval. Thereafter, they would be in a position to set up temporary kiosks to sell firecrackers.
The wholesale cracker markets in the past has been held at the IDH Market near the ISBT and the congested Pappar Wala Bazar near the Golden Temple. However, these markets had to be shifted to Jahajgarh in 2000 after a massive fire broke out at the IDH Market in which material worth crores of rupees was gutted. Loss of human life was also reported in 1999. Later, the market at Jahajgarh was also ruled out for holding the firecracker market as it did not comply with the norms.
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