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Dhanteras night: Traders selling Chinese firecrackers under fake 'Made in India' labels to woo customers

India's crackdown on smuggled fireworks, especially the ban on those Made-in-China, is far from over.
Let alone far-flung towns and cities, Delhi itself has been unable to enforce the ban on imported firecrackers that an India Today investigation found have inundated the capital's wholesale markets ahead of Diwali.

Despite special teams and police patrols conducting surprise raids, Chinese "Pop Pop" crackers crackling in Sadar Bazaar and Jama Masjid markets, India Today's undercover reporter observed.
Most of these Chinese crackers were found to be packed in their trademark yellow boxes, but with fake "Made in India" stamps. They carried no batch number, manufacturing date or MRP.

China's friction-sensitive pop-pops are believed to be highly dangerous because of their substandard composition and packaging.

As many as 2,500 crackers are tightly packed in a rectangular box. The tiny fuse-less explosives can mass-detonate and cause serious injuries if the box drops accidentally or is pressured.

"These crackers are made in India. But we cannot keep them here. They can explode any time," admitted a fireworks wholesaler in Sadar.

Despite boycott call, shopkeepers selling made-in-China goods this Diwali to avoid losses
He said he had, however, stocked them in his secret, makeshift warehouse. "We can show you our stock," he told India Today's reporter.

But the banned firecrackers were there on display at various other shops and outlets.

Hawkers and even underage boys have been seen selling these firecrackers in Jama Masjid and Sadar markets, the investigative journalist found.

A cardboard case carrying 50 matchbox-sized containers was priced at Rs 500.

"Rs 47,500," replied the storeowner, suggesting discounts and supplies were no issue.

He even promised that he would organise 2,000 boxes of pop pops in 30 minutes.

Their forged "Made In India" labelling was aimed at deceiving customers wary of buying Chinese products because of Beijing's support to Islamabad, explained a shopkeeper.


"No one wants Chinese goods. They all ask for "Made in India". You know the reason. No one wants to be seen as anti-national," he said.

Cheaper Chinese fireworks, experts say, contain potassium chlorate, a compound that has been tightly regulated in India since 1992. It's highly sensitive and can go off at the slightest friction.

Indian firecrackers, on the other hand, are filled with safer potassium and sodium nitrate.

Foreign-made fireworks are banned across India. "It is illegal in India to possess and sell fireworks of foreign origin and punishable under the law," according to a press statement issued by the Commerce and Industry Ministry in 2014.

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