No bonus for employees working in industries due to drastic decline in production; Retailers from districts who come to city a week before Diwali are nowhere to be seen this time.

Inflation and cyclone Nilam seems to have hit the firecrackers business with sales registering a decline of around 40 per cent, keeping traders on the edge in the capital.

Traders claim that sales are low by 35 to 40 per cent this festive season when compared to last year as people are careful with their budget for crackers. The recent hike in fuel prices has led to the increase in prices of essential commodities.

This apart, most employees working in industries have not got their bonus due to drastic decline in the production after power cuts were implemented in industrial units, traders point out.

The makeshift pandals put up in open places to sell firecrackers wear an almost-deserted look and even retailers are hesitating to invest money in the business this time owing to the poor response.

“Being an expensive affair, firecrackers will be a low priority and most will prefer to address mandatory monthly expenses and then think about firecrackers,” feels Vishnu fireworks owner S. Purshotham Das. He hopes that the sales might pick up from Saturday night onwards.

Cyclone Nilam too has affected the business as it wrecked havoc in Coastal Andhra. Retailers from the districts visit the city at least a week before Diwali to purchase stock in bulk and sell in their respective areas. “They have been hardly seen till now,” rue traders.

Immadishetty fireworks owner I. Pratap Kumar says the cost of firecrackers too has also gone up by 30 per cent due to hike in transportation and labour costs. “Industrial units involved in fireworks are facing acute shortage of manpower as it is hazardous to make firecrackers manually,” he explains. Latest fancy fireworks such as ‘Glitzy Glamour’, ‘Shanghai Nights,’ ‘Crackling Stars’ and ‘Peacock Dance,’ are expected to rank high among Diwali highlights this time.

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