Shrikant Mhalgi, who had been running an electronics shop in Narayan Peth for the past four decades, said the increasing demand for chinese lights, which had almost killed the market for indigenous lights over the last five to six years, has seen a significant dip this year.
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Owner of Mhalgi Enterprises, he said, this is the first Diwali when most of the customers are particularly asking for Indian Diwali lightings. “Earlier, only five to 10 per cent customers would ask for Indian lights. But this year, around 70 per cent have exclusively asked for Indian lights. Obviously, it is the impact of the Uri attack in which Pakistan had killed our soldiers. Now no one wants Chinese lights,” added Mhalgi.
The growing aversion to Chinese products in Pune, and across India, gained momentum following China’s support for Pakistan in the backdrop of Uri attack. Sharing this thought, newly-married Kirti Khandelwal, who will be celebrating her first Diwali this year with husband Gaurav in Kharadi, said, “There’s no way we or for that matter any sensible Indian would opt for Chinese lights now. As far as we are concerned, it’s not just this year but in the coming years too we will be buying only Made in India lights.”
So what is it that made Chinese lights find their way into the Indian market in the first place? Vikram Hingmire, the owner of Gauri Electricals in Kothrud, explains, “While the price of Chinese lights starts from Rs 20, the Indian lights begin with Rs 250. Not everyone can afford them. The downside is that the Indian lights last for four to five years with proper care, Chinese lights are like ‘use and throw’. I won’t say that there are no customers for Chinese lights this year; there are still a few shoppers who want them. But, compared to previous years, their percentage is now hardly five to 10.”
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The change in shopping trend this year has resulted in an increase in revenue booked by the shopkeepers. Kailash Borate, a shopkeeper from Ravivar Peth, admits, “Since Indian lights cost more and are selling more than the Chinese ones, the rise in the income is obviously increased slightly this year – around 15 per cent.”
While price of Chinese lights ranges between Rs 20 to Rs 400, the Indian ones cost between Rs 250 to Rs 350.