Transportation of crackers costs a bomb, eats into Kovai traders’ profits 

According to sources, goods transport offices that used to charge up to Rs 150 for a 15-kg parcel from Sivakasi have increased charges up to Rs 500 in the last 10 days.
Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo | EPS, Shekhar Yadav)
Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo | EPS, Shekhar Yadav)

COIMBATORE:  Many customers and traders complained that the price of crackers has soared this year as transportation charges from Sivakasi have gone up by at least three times. People who purchased crackers from Sivakasi said their purpose of buying directly from manufacturers has been nullified and that they should have visited shops in their neighbourhoods. 

According to sources, goods transport offices that used to charge up to Rs 150 for a 15-kg parcel from Sivakasi have increased charges up to Rs 500 in the last 10 days.  P Kumar, a resident of Olympus said, “As crackers cannot be carried on buses, I sent crackers worth Rs 2000 through a goods carrier. I paid Rs 450 as charges from Sivakasi to Coimbatore.” S Srinivasan, a resident of Coimbatore,  said, “To receive two boxes weighing 30 kg of crackers from Sivakasi, the transportation office in Coimbatore collected `900 which used to be Rs 300 in normal days.” 

Traders, who take ten-day temporary licences from the district administration, said they are forced to increase prices as hidden costs have risen.   A few traders alleged they gave bribes of Rs 25,000 to officials in various departments to obtain licences and set up temporary shops.  Ravi (name changed), said, “To open a temporary cracker shop, we have to bribe officials in local body, fire, police, fire and revenue departments. Of this, the fire department eats up the lion’s share of Rs 7,500. Apart from the bribe, each trader has to provide a minimum of 20 gift boxes to police and staff of local bodies. We have to compensate for the loss by increasing the price.”

Collector Kranthi Kumar Pati said, “After the recent accidents, scrutinizing was followed strictly. It was also the reason for the time taken for approval. As regards transportation cost, there is no norm prescribed.” P Annadurai, District Fire Safety Officer, denied allegations that traders had to pay bribes for temporary shops.  City police commissioner V Balakrishnan said he would look into the allegations. 

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