Staff Reporter

Rajahmundry: It’s time to celebrate the festival of lights. Activity begins with the sprucing up of homes and decking them up with garlands made of mango leaves and marigold. While this is one aspect of the festival, the other and the most eagerly-awaited aspect is the purchase of crackers. It is here that the middle class families feel the pinch with the cost increasing by the year.

A decade ago, the highest amount spent on crackers was between Rs. 300 and Rs. 500. But now, a family needs to spend a minimum of Rs. 1,000 if it were to get items worth mentioning and enjoy fireworks. While most of crackers are sourced from Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu, there are many local manufacturers trying to cater to the needs of the public.

The spiralling prices seem to have an adverse impact, which is reflected in the less number of stalls put up in places like Subrahmanya Maidan. Arava Subbaraju and sons, popular in cracker sales throughout the year, say that the interest in youth to celebrate the festival in a traditional manner has come down. Compared to last year, the prices of crackers have shot up by 30 per cent to 40 per cent. Hence, stall owners introduced ‘bumper’ offer on purchase of Rs.500 packet.