BERHAMPUR: Firecracker sellers at Nilakantheswar market in Berhampur are a worried lot. They are apprehensive of cyclone Hud Hud casting a shadow on their business. Last year, Phailin had dealt a major blow to their trade.
Hud Hud is expected to make its landfall in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh on October 12 and Ganjam is likely to be most affected.
Opened about a decade back with 42 pucca rooms near Nilakantheswar temple by a group of merchants in the city with an aim to avoid any mishap, the market functions only twice a year - mango season and Diwali.
The wholesale market gets customers from different parts of Ganjam as well as the State. The crackers from here are supplied to different districts of Odisha as well as Raipur, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.
The cracker market opened on October 5 and will operate till Deepavali on October 23. The market generally remains open from Dussehra to Diwali. But this year, the grant of permission for the cracker trade by the district administration was delayed by two days. The administration has granted licence to 24 persons to trade in the market.
During Diwali, fireworks worth over `2 crore are transacted by Berhampur Fireworks Traders Union by importing from Sivakasi, besides procuring from the local producers. This year, the order of Nilakantheswar market for Sivakasi products is more than `1.5 crore and other varieties worth `50 lakh from Raipur, Rajasthan and West Bengal.
Unku Gouda, president of the market said, “This is a crucial time for us as Diwali is a few days away. If it rains, we will suffer heavy loss like last year,” said Gouda.