Increased prices fail to dampen Sivakasi’s famed cracker business

The wholesale hub of Sivakasi, a major centre of fireworks, which attracts large number of buyers from various parts of India is soaking up the festival atmosphere with sales picking up steadily.
A cracker shop teeming with customers in Sivakasi on Sunday
A cracker shop teeming with customers in Sivakasi on Sunday

MADURAI: A week before Deepavali, the sale of fire crackers of most sought after items is picking up, despite rising prices.

The wholesale hub of Sivakasi, a major centre of fireworks, which attracts large number of buyers from various parts of India is soaking up the festival atmosphere with sales picking up steadily.

The open market is exposed to sharp price rise of 40 per cent this season, but it has not bothered the consumers, P Rajendran, vice president, Federation of Tamil Nadu Fireworks Traders (FTNFT), Sivakasi, said on Sunday. The fireworks are mostly displayed with ultraviolet UV print packaging that seemed shining to attract buyers. “Scores of people started touring Sivakasi, where they buy large quantities of crackers and dine in the restaurants. Travelling by cars from neighboring Madurai and other districts, four or five people in a group jointly buy crackers worth Rs 30,000 before returning,” he said.

There are 649 different types of firecrackers, including 350 fancy fireworks. The items range from a 30-shot cracker costing Rs 250 to a 21st Century big multi shot aerial fancy novelty fireworks priced at Rs 11,000 apiece at the maximum in the market. Now, almost 80 per cent of the retail trade is over in Sivakasi, he told DT Next.

Further, he said the price spike would only have a temporary effect as several manufacturers were mulling to slash the prices significantly post Deepavali when many traders from Gujarat, Mumbai and various parts of North India would normally pay money in advance to buy crackers during days of April, May and June, Rajendran said.

T Ganesan, a retail trader in Sivakasi said many were doing brisk trade, but the volume of business has shrunk as a result of price rise. The market has been heating up over the last three days now. Unlike last seasons, crackers in assorted items are not packed in gift box this time as sparklers and joint-crackers, which are usually made of barium nitrate, were banned by the Supreme Court, as officials in teams were strictly monitoring to check violations, he said.

According to V Raja Chandrasekaran, president, FTNFT, Madurai, stalls to sell crackers are yet to come up in Madurai as stakeholders are awaiting license. Further, the president said market demand for crackers in the rest of Sivakasi would pick up three days ahead of Deepavali.

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