This Diwali, the two-hour window to burst crackers set by the Supreme Court and a crackdown on pollutants may give a new lease of life to Assam's traditional produce which, in one case at least, is made with a formula that is 130-year-old and villagers claim that this is exactly what the top court wants -- green crackers.
Since 1885, the residents of Ganakkuchi village have been making toobris or flower pots with a traditional formula that's low noise, no flame, no chemicals, but turns Diwali into a starry night.
"Our products are almost like green crackers. They are less polluting as we don't use high explosive content, but the issue in our country is that we need experts and a system to certify which is green cracker and which is not. Once that happens, it will give a boost to indigenous industries like ours," said Gopjit Pathak, a traditional cracker manufacturer from Ganakkuchi, whose family has been involved in this trade for four generations.
Green crackers are yet to be fully defined, but Assam's Pollution Control Board says indigenous fire crackers are less polluting than those available in the market.
"People don't know what a green cracker is as the definition isn't clear. So we are considering those which are less polluting as green crackers, not the ones manufactured at Sivakasi," the member secretary of Assam State Pollution Control Board BK Baruah told NDTV.
To promote the indigenous crackers, the state has provided some infrastructure near Ganakkuchi village.
"We are yet to move to machines, and the entire process is manual so we cannot try variety of products and the volume of production is also low," said Narayan Das, one of the workers at an indigenous cracker unit at Ganakkuchi.
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