The invasion of a vast range of coloured powder and squirt guns made in China has taken a toll on small and medium industries and rendered about 10 lakh people jobless over the past two years, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) has said.

More than 1,000 SMEs engaged in manufacturing colours and sprinklers have shut down due to the distress of those employed at these places, marring their festivities even as the country prepares to celebrate the onset of spring with colours.

Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat said only 12 per cent of the sprinklers manufactured in the country could be sold so far, with producers rueing their inability to even recover the manufacturing cost.

Almost all the Chinese products were sold out, while the local stuff remained on the shelves. Mr. Rawat maintained that the Chinese dominated 80 per cent of the market a year ago, and this year it has shot up to 95 per cent.

The Holi accessories market grew from Rs.12,000 crore last year to about Rs.15,000 crore this year. The survey revealed that in comparison to the local products the Chinese artefacts were innovative. They have flooded the market with water guns, balloons, canons and toys of various sizes and shapes in replicas of animals, gadgets and characters, gripping the attention of children.

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