Pandemic pushes price of fireworks up by 30-40%

It’s that time of the year when the bangs and crackles of fireworks bring joy to all people. It’s also when traders turn to cracker sales to reap easy profits.

Published: 01st November 2021 06:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st November 2021 06:11 AM   |  A+A-

People buying crackers ahead of Deepavali at Island grounds in Chennai on Sunday | Ashwin Prasath

Express News Service

SALEM:  It’s that time of the year when the bangs and crackles of fireworks bring joy to all people. It’s also when traders turn to cracker sales to reap easy profits. This year, however, with the prices of firecrackers rising across the State, this joy has fallen out of the reach of many families. Consequently, traders, who were already hit by supply issues, are also facing a fall in demand. According to the latter, the prices have risen by 30 to 40 per cent this year, with the pandemic again playing a spoilsport.

“Rise in price of fuel, raw materials, and paper has led to an approximately 40 per cent increase in the price of firecrackers. A packet of sparklers sold for Rs 100 last year is now sold for Rs 140. Small gift boxes of crackers which cost Rs 250 now cost Rs 400,” said P Deepan Chakravarthy, a wholesale dealer at Swarnapuri in Salem.

A significant cause of the price rise, he said, is the increase in freight charges. “The freight charges for a box of crackers have increased by Rs 50 from last year. With a lorry loading around 150 boxes, we have to pay Rs 22,500 for a load this year compared to Rs 15,000 last year,” he explained. Rangasamy, an executive committee member of the Tamil Nadu Cracker Sellers Association, agreed that transport costs have affected the prices.

Meanwhile, manufacturers are struggling too. “The cost of raw materials has increased by at least 32 percent, but we are selling the products at the same price as last year. Due to the pandemic, lockdowns and other related issues, production was affected. Since the stockists were not ready to purchase crackers, we stopped production. Only 40 per cent of goods have been manufactured in Sivakasi this year,” explained G Radhakrishnan, former president of the Indian Fireworks Manufacturers Association (TIFMA).

‘We hope there is a surge in demand’

Although there may be a rise in demand days before Deepavali, the units cannot manufacture and transport the crackers to outlets in time, partly due to the monsoon showers, Radhakrishnan added. As a result of the price rise, there has been a fall in demand for the crackers. J Ramprasanna, proprietor of a cracker shop at Palakarai in Tiruchy said usually people would buy crackers for more than Rs 4,000.

“But with the prices rising by 15 per cent from last year, we expected their budget to remain the same, even if they purchased fewer crackers. However, this time even most of the big purchases are just around Rs 2000.” Rajkumar, a trader from Srirangam, who procured the stocks at a 7 to 8 per cent increase in prices, remains cautiously optimistic. “We hope there is a surge in demand for crackers in the upcoming days.”

(With inputs from Azeefa Fathima @ Virudhunagar, Aadhithya M S @ Tiruchy)


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