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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Firework and sky lantern sales flourish despite ban

  • They are being discreetly sold in Old Dhaka
  • DMP says strict action will be taken
Update : 31 Dec 2023, 07:10 PM

In recent years, the once joyous English New Year celebration has been overshadowed by a gloom affair due to numerous hazardous incidents arising from the use of fireworks and sky lanterns on the New Year’s Eve.

Numerous incidents, including fire outbreaks and fatalities, have been reported in over 200 locations across the country.

Last year, even the power transmission line of the metro rail was damaged during such incidents.

In response to these issues, law enforcement forces have adopted a stringent stance.

The Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has declared that strict action will be taken against those caught red-handed flying lanterns, igniting firecrackers, or selling them.

To ensure a festive and safe environment for both the upcoming national parliamentary election and the 31st night, a ban has been imposed on all types of fireworks, lanterns, and firecrackers in Dhaka city for an indefinite period.

Despite the ban, the sale of these flammable items persists.

During a visit in the capital, it was seen that sky lanterns were openly being sold at various intersections.

Additionally, fireworks and sky lanterns were being discreetly sold in the narrow lanes of Old Dhaka, including Tantibazar and Shakharibazar, known as the largest market for lanterns and fireworks.

Many shops are engaging in the illegal sale of lanterns and fireworks, employing covert tactics. Sellers are selective, only offering their products to familiar faces, and transactions often take place away from the prying eyes of authorities.

Firecrackers and lanterns are being illicitly sold in small shops tucked away in the alleys of various areas in Old Dhaka, such as Shakhari Bazar, Tantibazar, Sutrapur, and Patikhan Lane.

Despite the ban, several young people and teenagers were observed standing discreetly in the vicinity, ready to approach potential buyers.

Wahidul Islam Safayat, a resident of Old Dhaka, acknowledged the DMP's instructions but noted that not everyone is adhering to the guidelines.

He said: “Fireworks and lantern festivals are the traditions of Old Dhaka. I think we should all be careful about bursting firecrackers and flying lanterns. We should all celebrate and light lanterns at a specific place instead of flying lanterns everywhere.”

Safayat also mentioned that lanterns are still available in Shankharibazar and Tantibazar, sold secretly to locals behind the shops.

Another resident of Old Dhaka, a college student named Turjo, said: “Celebrating the night with fireworks on December 31 every year is not new. Every year I used to set off these firecrackers and lanterns myself. But when I saw the occasional accident due to it, I have been avoiding it ever since. I think social organizations and television should spread awareness advertisements to stop this bad culture.”

Wishing to remain anonymous, a trader in Shakhari Bazar, admitted that lanterns and firecrackers are available in many shops despite the ban.

He justified the sales by saying that they are fulfilling the requests of known customers and selling the items discreetly.

“We have brought the items at the shops following requests of known customers. Moreover, we can sell at double price than the usual price this time. That's why I'm selling it secretly. But when the existing items will be sold out, I will not bring anymore,” said the trader. 

He added that the existing items are being sold at double the usual price, and once the stock is depleted, they will cease further sales in compliance with the ban.

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