Tamil Nadu

Far from a cracker of a sale

This year the sale of firecrackers has been dull with the numbers not even reaching half of last year’s sales.

This year the sale of firecrackers has been dull with the numbers not even reaching half of last year’s sales.   | Photo Credit: R_Ragu

High prices and delay in getting licences have come as a dampener for retailers

The prospects for firecracker sellers are not as bright as they are for textile retailers this Deepavali.

While textile showrooms including retail hubs like T. Nagar, Purasawalkam, Velachery and Tambaram are teeming with shoppers, footfall in firecracker shops has been modest, leaving the retailers worried.

Island Grounds, which has become the home to firecracker retailers during the season, wore a deserted look even on Sunday, just two days before the festival of lights.

S. Nagendran, a staff at Muthuganesh Fire Works, said the sale of firecrackers has been dull with the numbers not even reaching half of last year’s sales. “After investing a huge amount of money in renting the shop and stocking up firecrackers, we could be left with a huge unsold stock,” he rued.

In several areas in the city, delay in getting temporary licences resulted in cracker retailers opening the shops only a few days before the festival.

P. Ashok, a resident of Madipakkam, said though a number of shops are open in their locality, he found the cost of firecrackers prohibitive because of the steep increase in the rates.

K. Mariappan, secretary, Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association, said the firecracker industry was on the verge of collapse due to the measures taken to control pollution .

“This year, the production has been reduced by half compared to last year because of demonetisation, high Goods and Service Tax (GST) and the banning of firecrackers in several States,” he said.

Mr. Mariappan said supply of firecrackers to Chennai, which accounts for 8 to 10% of the total sales in the country, has been limited because of funds ‘crunch’ brought in by demonetisation.

He said with the GST rates fixed at 28% for firecrackers the cost has gone up by 40%. As a result, the Deepavali festival was almost over for the industry, even before it began, he said.

A senior official of the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services said that a total of 1,032 fire licences have been issued in the city.

Giving a break-up of the total licences given so far, the official said 161 licences had been issued in north region, 419 licences in the south, 227 in the east and 225 to the western suburbs covering Ambattur and Avadi.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 10:51:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/far-from-a-cracker-of-a-sale/article19867426.ece

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