With colourful decorations, sparkling lights and mouth-watering dishes, everyone in the Twin Cities, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, is ready to celebrate Diwali. People are in a joyful mood and the markets are crowded with men, women and children buying candles, crackers and other items for the festivities. Even though Chinese crackers are banned in India, they are still available in plenty in the market. Some dealers get them to better their profits while customers are happy to get them for lesser prices. In this context, Orissa POST talked to some Diwali shoppers to get their views on Chinese crackers.
Ankit Mohanty, a Bhubaneswar based IT employee, says, “Chinese lamps have overshadowed desi earthen diyas this season and there is a drop in the sale of diyas. Meanwhile, the stores selling Chinese lights say they have not seen a fall in sales for the last couple of years. They sell nearly 2,000 lamp sets every season. This affects the vendors who sell earthen diyas. I support the boycott of Chinese goods to strengthen the local economy. Besides, about 90 per cent of Chinese crackers contain potassium chlorate that poses health hazards by producing toxic fumes. Though the local cracker manufacturers also use these chemicals, the percentage is more in Chinese crackers.”
Avinash Mishra, an employee of OUAT Bhubaneswar, says, “First of all, I don’t buy crackers these days. I used to love them when I was a kid. But now I think they are a complete waste of money and cause environmental pollution. So, for Diwali, I prefer to light diyas and burn low smoke emitting sparklers. Every year, I purchase terracotta lamps, clay lamps sold at the exhibition ground, Bhubaneswar. However, ideally, we should buy the diyas from local seasonal traders to help them make some profit and enjoy the festival like us. Besides, Chinese crackers are full of hazardous materials. So, we should not risk our life for short term enjoyment.”
Diwali is the festival of lights and it should be observed in a traditional way, says Kirti Tripathy, a telecom employee. “I always prefer to stay away from firecrackers as I don’t want to take a risk and I think it is a waste of money. Also, bursting firecrackers has many adverse effects that include environmental pollution and health risk. At the same time, we cannot stop people from using them during Diwali as crackers are now burst on all occasions such as marriage processions and idol immersion processions. But I would request everyone to shun Chinese crackers as they contain hazardous chemicals which are harmful to human beings and the environment. The chemicals used by the Indian cracker manufacturers are less dangerous and, therefore, safer to use. Buy crackers after checking the name of manufacturer on the box and buy only Indian products. Let’s celebrate a happy and safe Diwali.”
BRATATI BARAL, OP