THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After nearly two years of the Covid outbreak and subsequent lockdowns, the firecracker market is once again buzzing with activity and the traders are hoping to do good business this year. With Deepavali just days away, many small and medium firecracker shops have started sprouting in the nook and corner of the city. However, traders are concerned about rain as it may dampen the business.
This year, the market is flooded with eco-friendly versions of popular firecrackers. Many varieties of firecrackers like colourful flower pots, butterfly crackers, spinners, whistle sparklers that sounds like a train’s whistle, and drone fireworks have arrived in the market. Santhosh Kumar, who has been in the firecracker business for the past 25 years, said there is a steady hike in the price of firecrackers.
“Compared to previous years, wholesale prices of firecrackers have gone up by 25%. We source the products from Sivakasi and the transportation cost has also gone up. Last year, we didn’t buy new stocks because of the pandemic,” said Santhosh. The price of crackers ranges from Rs 40 to Rs 400, depending on the brand and quality. “The eco-friendly crackers cost more. Normally, we used to do business for Rs 6 to Rs 7 lakh during Deepavali. However, the pandemic adversely impacted our business. It was a struggle as the revenue was nil. I had to maintain the staff and pay the rentals despite the financial challenges,” Santhosh added.
According to traders, firecrackers with reduced emissions and low decibel sound are the new trend. “Firepots are one of the popular firecrackers and there is huge demand. Now it comes in different colours,” Santhosh said. Rajesh R, who runs a firecracker shop in Power House Road, said normal crackers cost around Rs 40 and eco-friendly ones cost around Rs 200.
“The new variety is drone fireworks. It’s a visual treat and also eco-friendly. Last year, we did good business despite the pandemic. We hope the rain will not spoil the business this time,” said Rajesh, who has been running the shop for the past 13 years.
According to him, the business is yet to pick up this year. “There is a 10% to 15% hike in prices. Normally we do Rs 10 to Rs 12 lakh business during Deepavali,” Rajesh added.