Crackers get washed out this Diwali - The New Indian Express

Crackers get washed out this Diwali

Published: 23rd October 2013 07:58 AM

Last Updated: 23rd October 2013 07:58 AM

With the festival of lights just around the corner, fire cracker traders in the city are a concerned lot. The delay in the withdrawal of the South-West monsoon from the region has been causing heavy downpours in isolated spells, leading to a slow and interrupted start to the sale of fire crackers in the city.

Merchants normally enjoy a rather extended sale period every year, starting from the conclusion of Ganesh Chathurthi. However, this year’s Diwali fuse has turned out to be shorter what with the continuous political agitations for and against the united State, and now the slow withdrawal of the returning monsoon, quite literally raining on their parade.

With the usual practice of drying crackers in the sun for better effect not being possible this year, people have been refraining from shopping to much as they believe the crackers will turn damp and not burst properly. Or atleast that’s what the AP Fire Workers Dealers Association president, Sanjay K Bhope says.

“Usually, our sales begin weeks before Diwali and we witness madness. This year, we are already running atleast 10 per cent less in sales. And we have to mentally prepare ourselves for the expected losses,” says Bhope, who owns Shanti Fire Works in Siddiamber bazaar. This has translated to piles of stock, meant to be sold, left untouched. 

“With only 12 days left for the festival, we do not see as many fire cracker stalls as it used to be. We’re open throughout the year and we can still survive. But small-time dealers are a bit skeptical and that affects our sales too,” said Ujwal Bhope of Sri Vinayaka agencies in Osman Gunj who is a dealer for many parts of Karnataka and Maharastra, apart from Andhra Pradesh.

Incidentally, the prices of fire crackers have gone up by 10-15 per cent this year owing to inflation. Explaining a sales deficit of up to 40 per cent, he said, “Customers are not coming out now. It is a cause for concern if customers don’t trickle in today and tomorrow, as it will lead to a mad rush at the last minute.”

Pointing towards his counters, he lamented, “I had around 20 customers today. Last year, the same time I had about 150 customers.” With the stocks piling up and no sale, he is a worried man.

“We hope the rains are only a temporary phase due to a depression somewhere. This doesn’t last long soon. We are expecting sales to pick up, ” said a more optimistic S Purushothamdas of Vishnu Fire Works Pvt Ltd in Feelkhana. However, his counters tell a different story.

According to him, there were no shortage of stock despite a long monsoon season but ongoing rains were the least expected. Another reason for the low sales is the delay in granting permissions by the police. With companies preferring to supply directly without checking for licenses, the role of wholesalers is also decreasing.

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