Fall in cracker sales as prices soar

AN EXPENSIVE DEAL: Traders selling crackers in a market in Mangalore on Monday.

AN EXPENSIVE DEAL: Traders selling crackers in a market in Mangalore on Monday.  

Special Correspondent

MANGALORE: Come Deepavali and the city is ready to celebrate. The tragedy, however, for those wishing to buy crackers is that the price of firecrackers seem to have hit the sky.

As a result, customers have cut their purchase on crackers and traders are complaining about poor business. Traders who are stocking firecrackers of branded companies say the industry is going through trade restrictions and labour problems at the manufacturing end. Local brands of Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu are sending limited stocks and this has resulted in the spiralling costs of branded companies. A box of 10 medium-sized (3 inches) flowerpots costs Rs. 180 and a box of ten electric sparklers (12 inches each) costs Rs. 60. A box of medium-sized rockets is available at Rs. 180. One dealer in Kodialbail says the rates have gone up only in comparison to last year. Even the smallest and most common varieties are up by 20 per cent.

"Till last year when the Sivakasi local brands used to arrive in Mangalore we had a good margin and were able to sell crackers at cheaper rates. However, this year owing to strict government vigilance crackers have come under the MRP (Maximum Retail Price) regime and this has hiked up the prices", says a dealer. Some parents feel that the fewer crackers is a good thing. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board office here has issued a warning that the noise pollution beyond certain levels is hazardous and punishable.

It has banned the manufacture and sale of the fireworks generating noise levels exceeding 125 dB (under AI grade of explosives).

The "No Child Labour Applied" (NCLA) stamp on most packages is another reassuring. sign.

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