This Diwali, firecracker sellers rue low sales; rise in prices

It's that time of the year when the markets are flooded with firecrackers of all shapes and sizes. But this year, the only worry for the buyers is the cost of crackers that has gone up by 20 to 25 per cent. This has discouraged people to stock crackers which was usually a practice followed by people right from Dussehra.

"The price of firecrackers has gone up owing to petrol price hike that has subsequently affected the transportation cost," said Sarika Wagh of Om Swami Crackers. She said that from the past one-two years the sale of crackers has also gone down. "Rising prices and budgetary constraints have forced people to keep Diwali a low-key affair. The have specially cut down the budget for crackers," she added.

Echoing the same sentiment is Subhash Bhondave, who has been into the business of firecrackers for the past 15 years.

"Although the price of crackers has increased, we will get to know the actual effect on sales only after Saturday as maximum sales are registered just two-three days before Diwali," said Bhondave.

Irfan Khan, whose father started R S Crackers in Pune around 45 years ago, said, "Crackers are last on the priority list of purchases. People come with a set budget and compromise on the number of items. For instance, earlier they used to prefer mega-size anars, now they only opt for smaller ones,"

Kishore Khilnani of Sham Firecrackers is of the view that nowadays people prefer bright and colourful crackers. A big hit these days are fancy shots that on explosion spread colourful display in the sky. These are priced on the basis of number of shots and colours and can cost between Rs 2,500 and Rs 5,000.

The sale of fire crackers has also gone down due to the increased awareness about harmful effects of crackers on environment, said Rajesh Bade of Prasad Crackers. "Crackers that we sell comply with the norm of permissible noise limit of 125 decibel. We have specified to our manufacturers to provide colourful and low-noise crackers," Bade said.

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