VIJAYAWADA: On the eve of Diwali, prices of firecrackers skyrocketed. Even the discounts offered by traders were not proving to be much relief to the customers, as they felt that the cost of crackers was inflated by 100 per cent.
“Some traders are announcing 60 per cent reduction in prices in the name of discount, but that is a lot of eyewash as rates had been deliberately hiked,” a customer said.G Vinay, a customer who is a school teacher by profession, said, “Last year, the discount was 80 per cent. However, both the times, rates were over-invoiced, making the discount matter little.”
When TNIE visited the city’s kiosks and stores that were selling fireworks, customers complaints about the rates rang true. A packet of Lakshmi bomb, which cost Rs 650 to Rs 700 last year, was sold at prices ranging from Rs 800 to Rs 850.
Similarly, a packet of flower pots was sold at Rs 140 to Rs 340 while it ranged between Rs 140 and Rs 380 last year; a pack of sparkles, cost of which was not more than Rs 400, was sold at Rs 500 this year and for a pack of rockets, the customers had to shell out up to Rs 300 whereas the cost of the same box was not more than Rs 250 last year.
Some shopkeepers even admitted to the prices being higher than normal and attributed the reason for the same to the inflated costs of raw materials. “While prices of some items are reasonable, others cost much more now because the rates of raw material are higher. Issues like deforestation and land acquisition have made their availability scarce. The GST also has an impact on the prices,” a trader said.