VISAKHAPATNAM: Sankranti fever is catching fast in Vizag, with kites in array of designs, shapes and sizes have started taking over the city skyline. As the mother of the festivals in the state can not be imagined without flying kites, people, young and old alike, are thronging the shops to grab different varieties of kites. And the picks of the season are kites with themes. Be it latest movies, favourite cartoons or political figures, the kite makers have used all their creativity to design the kites ahead of the festivity.
For this Sankranti, the traders have introduced kites imported from Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and threads from Bareilly. Some of the Chinese kites have also been imported via Delhi which are foldable and of 15-foot height, which looks like parachutes.
The kites are made up of PVC, photo prints, paper, parachute cloth, gold cover and Germany PVC, while the threads are of cotton, PVC, manjha, Bareilly thread and several others.
“Every year, the kites designed on the themes of hit movies become the best picks and this year too, we have Kabali, Gangal, Sultan, Bahubali II kites. But, kites based on demonetisation theme is being preferred by many. For kids, it is always cartoon characters and of which Chota Bheem is the most famous and this time, the Little Krishna is an addition,” says BK Ramesh Reddy, a kite dealer at Allipuram, adding that the best kites have been imported from Indonesia, Japan and China.
The high-end kites are from 15 feet to 30 feet long, made of parachute cloth and their prices range from `3,000 to `8,000. This year Kobra and Shark are the latest additions, besides Octopus.
“The season of kites usually starts in October and continues till June. But, this year, the market seems sluggish due to the demonetisation. We rarely find customers buying in bulk. Previously, all kites brought for the festival used to get sold a week before the festival, but this time it is not so. However, we hope the sales will go up this week,” adds BK Ramesh Reddy.
The imported kites are exported to Kakinada, Rajamahendravaram, Tanuku, Tadepalligudem, Samalkot, Anakapalli and Yellamanchili too. Every year, around three lakh kites are imported ahead of Sankranti, he added.
Meanwhle, Rotaract Club of Vizag Metro organised kites festival on the Beach Road on Sunday. The event had a total of 250 eco-friendly kites.
Kites not made in city
The kites are usually imported instead of being manufactured locally, thanks to increasing labour charges. “Our shop is 70 years old. Before I got into the business, my father was the one who used to be the dealer for the local market.
The kites used to be manufactured by my father along with the labourers. Now, labour charges are killing us. In Kolkata, the per day labour charge is `50, whereas it is `500 in Vizag. So, we have stopped making kites here since 2008,” said Ramesh.
“This year the sales are very low. Previously there were around 80 stalls along the beach stretch now they are half in number,” said S Appa Rao, another kite vendor at RK Beach.