“Fearing last minute hike in prices of crackers most people had already bought crackers online even before the Supreme Court announced its verdict. Sale in cracker shops here started only after the verdict and will continue for a week till Deepavali,” said M Poovai, who runs SSK crackers, in Sivakasi.
The petition seeking blanket ban on sale of crackers was filed in 2015 and ever since the petition was filed there was uncertainty among the manufacturers, traders and agents buying crackers. Because of this, cracker manufacturing had dipped by 33 per cent and bulk orders from North India were not accepted.
According to Nagakumar, a wholesale trader in Sivakasi, the cracker sale in Tamil Nadu constitutes only 8 per cent of the total sale as the majority of orders are placed by traders in New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
Because of the anticipation of the verdict and the ban, the makers did not accept bulk orders from New Delhi until after the apex court order.
Frequent protests against the ban on sale of crackers in New Delhi also affected the livelihood of people this year. “We lost almost four months of work due to continuous protests demanding the Supreme Court to lift the ban on cracker sale,” said Antony Selvam, a labourer at a private cracker manufacturing unit.
Another aspect that has been worrying the traders here is the quality of the firecrackers that are sold online with claims that they are made in Sivakasi.
Poovai said, “Those crackers made in a hurry using cheap chemicals and are not dried well before being sold online. Since the makers claim that they are made here, customers blame Sivakasi companies and manufacturers when they find faulty products.”
“We advise people to visit wholesale shops in Sivakasi to get good quality products at a low price,” he added.