Bengalureans make a beeline for Hosur to buy crackers

Attibele, where a fire at a cracker godown killed 17 people, is bereft of usual activity ahead of Deepavali; enforcement of ban of non-green crackers strict at inter-State border

Updated - November 09, 2023 04:22 pm IST

Published - November 08, 2023 10:15 pm IST - Bengaluru

People from Bengaluru are thronging Hosur to buy firecrackers as not a single stall has come up at Attibele on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

People from Bengaluru are thronging Hosur to buy firecrackers as not a single stall has come up at Attibele on the outskirts of Bengaluru. | Photo Credit:

The otherwise frenzy pocket of Attibele on the outskirts of Bengaluru is bereft of activity ahead of this Deepavali with the Karnataka government strictly enforcing the ban on the sale of conventional firecrackers in the State. This has turned out to be beneficial for wholesalers and retailers selling crackers along Hosur Road on the Tamil Nadu side of the border.

Not a single stall has come up at Attibele, located near the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border on the southern outskirts of the city, where a fire in a cracker godown on October 8 led to the death of 17 people. To avoid the recurrence of such an incident, the government has stepped up enforcement of the ban on the sale of non-green crackers. Usually, in the run-up to Deepavali, people from the city travel up to Attibele to purchase crackers as the prices are lower here when compared with that in the central business district areas of Bengaluru. The wholesalers here purchase crackers from Sivakasi in Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu in bulk and sell them.

Business thriving 

Just about 100 to 200 metres away from across the Karnataka border, business is thriving, with people from both Hosur and Bengaluru coming to make purchases. In about 40-70 stalls opened along the service road both green and conventional crackers are available. The wholesalers claim that crackers in the boxes labelled with green are environment friendly and others are conventional ones. The demand for green crackers is more from customers hailing from Bengaluru. The wholesalers are also struggling to meet the demand as the supply this Deepavali has been hit due to fire accidents.

People from Bengaluru are thronging Hosur to buy firecrackers as not a single stall has come up at Attibele on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

People from Bengaluru are thronging Hosur to buy firecrackers as not a single stall has come up at Attibele on the outskirts of Bengaluru. | Photo Credit:

Abhinaya Kannan of Sree Kalaimagal Traders, who is also the wife of the president of the Hosur Firecrackers Traders’ Association, told The Hindu that the footfall this season was more than expected. On Sunday, the area recorded a massive crowd and for more than five hours the service road witnessed traffic snarls. “People coming from our side (Tamil Nadu) were parking their vehicles on the Karnataka side of the border, while Bengalureans also arrived in large numbers. Many shops found it difficult to cater to the demand,” Ms. Kannan said. She said that with shops closed at Attibele, the crowd may further go up, but people are still confused if they can carry crackers into Karnataka crossing the border checkpost or not.

Surveillance at checkpost

Bengaluru Rural Superintendent of Police Mallikarjun Baldandi said that people can carry green crackers from Hosur for domestic purposes and those who carry in bulk have to furnish their licence to the police at the border. “The police deployed at the checkpost will check whether the crackers are green or conventional one before allowing them,” he said.

Not just at Attibele, the government has not allowed opening of stalls selling conventional crackers anywhere else in the State too, he said and added that the police were ensuring strict implementation of the ban.

Supply hit

Nandini K., a salesperson at a stall, said fire accidents at two manufacturing units in Sivakasi and at the Attibele godown had hit the supply hard to an extent that “running crackers” such as shots and garland crackers, which are manufactured during Deepavali, have gone out of stock. “We had to send customers back as we were unable to cater to the demand,” she said.

S. Murugan, another wholesaler, said the business was expected to improve further this weekend, especially on Saturday, on the eve of the festival. “Many shops here have placed a demand at factories in Sivakasi and we are hoping that the manufacturers will meet our demand,” he said.

Wholesalers selling conventional firecrackers are doing business in the fear of raids from Tamil Nadu police and refused to speak to the media.

Prices of crackers go up

The prices of firecrackers have gone up drastically this year. Sellers blame it on the stringent enforcement of norms and the Tamil Nadu police raids on cracker factories in Sivakasi after fire accidents earlier this year.

Abhinaya Kannan of Sree Kalaimagal Traders said the price of crackers manufactured during Deepavali had surged by 30%. While the demand is high, the supply has taken a hit, resulting in an increase of prices.

For instance, a box of single shot multicolour sky shot cracker (conventional) which usually costs ₹4,000, now costs ₹5,200. But this has not discouraged people from buying crackers as this is once-in-a-year event. Wholesalers are struggling to buy enough stock to meet the demand.

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