Fall in sales takes shine off festivities for cracker vendors
Celebrations for the three days of Deepavali — Naraka Chaturdasi, Lakshmi Puja and Bali Padyami — concluded with a blaze of fireworks that lit up the city skies on Thursday.
Decibel and pollution levels may have seemed lower than previous years' during the first two days, but there was a perceptible increase in light and sound that reverberated across the city on the last day, Thursday.
The philosophical aspect of the festival — of moving from darkness to light, ignorance to knowledge and sorrow to bliss — is reflected in the practice of lighting diyas and will be seen till the conclusion of the Karthika month.
Rain a damper
The heavy rain that lashed the city in the run-up to the festival was a damper to the festive mood of the youth, children and the business community, who generally splurge on crackers.
There were few takers for crackers in the run-up to Deepavali and on the first two days. Vendors reported brisk sale on Thursday, with buyers encouraged by the fact that it did not rain heavily on Wednesday.
Rise in prices
Firecracker vendors here bemoaned that they had only 65 per cent of the sales compared with last year. They blamed not only the rain, but also the 35 per cent increase in prices of crackers.
Besides, they could not set up their stalls at Town Hall, their usual place, because of ongoing work under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. Instead, they had to shift to J.K. Grounds and near the Karnataka Exhibition Grounds, or even residential areas.
Though Town Hall used to host around 40 stalls, there were only 26 at J.K. Grounds
However, supply was also hit this year. “We procure the fireworks from Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu. We had paid the amount six months ago but production was low this year and hence, even supply was affected,” said Ganesh, a merchant.
On a positive note, there has been a near absence of burns or injuries due to crackers reported from hospitals in the city till late on Thursday.