New Delhi: Senior BJP leader Vijay Goel met firecracker traders here on Saturday and said he will sit on a dharna if the Delhi government does not compensate them for the losses due to the ban imposed on crackers in the city.
He said the Delhi government and police issued scores of licenses in October for selling firecrackers and traders had picked up stock by the time the ban was announced.
Amid rising pollution levels and a spike in daily COVID-19 cases, the Delhi government on Thursday imposed a blanket ban on firecrackers, including green crackers, from November 7 to 30. Given the significant relationship between air pollution and respiratory infections, bursting of firecrackers is not favourable "for the large cause of community health", the government had said in its order.
Goel, who met traders in Jama Masjid area, said, "Who will compensate the traders and shopkeepers who had purchased firecrackers after getting licences? If the Delhi government does not compensate them for the losses, I will sit on dharna here from tomorrow." The former Union minister hit out at the Delhi government for not fulfilling its promise to install smog towers, control industrial and road dust, and buy electric buses to help solve the problem of air pollution in the city. However, the government hastily banned firecrackers, he said.
According to a senior Delhi Police officer, 138 licences for firecracker shops were issued this year. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said the COVID-19 situation in Delhi is deteriorating due to rising air pollution. He has termed the sudden spike in coronavirus cases in the city as the "third wave" of the pandemic.
On Friday, Delhi recorded its biggest single-day jump of 7,178 COVID-19 cases which took its tally to 4,23,831.