Banning import and sale of Chinese firecrackers has had little or no effect on domestically made crackers as traders across major cities report poor business owing to anti-cracker campaigns run by schools, resident welfare associations (RWAs) and others noted an ASSOCHAM survey-cum-analysis. The ASSOCHAM interacted with firecracker wholesalers, retailers, traders in 10 cities of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Chennai, Dehradun, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Mumbai to gauge the enthusiasm and demand for firecrackers together with impact of ban on Chinese crackers across India.
“It is not just Chinese firecrackers but multiple factors like growing environmental awareness, rising cost of living, growing tendency amid people to save their hard-earned money rather than spoiling it on burning crackers, paucity of time, traffic congestions during festive period and others have together dented this business over the years,” said majority of 250 firecracker traders in aforesaid cities that ASSOCHAM representatives interacted with during the course of past 25 days.
Most of the traders said they have seen a sharp decline of about 20 percent YoY from past five years and have also almost halved the amount of crackers they used to get in wake of poor sales. “Banning Chinese firecrackers was a welcome move which was aimed at strengthening the domestic industry, however growing criticism of bursting firecrackers and all the negative publicity together with rising air and noise pollution have eventually faded the growth of firecracker industry across India,” said Secretary general of ASSOCHAM, DS Rawat.
“About hundreds of units in Sivakasi have shut their shop owing to intense campaigns and growing sales of China-made crackers over the years, it is estimated that about 30,000 people have lost their livelihood,” added Rawat. “There are about 800 licensed firecracker making units in Sivakasi where this industry accounts for a market size of about 2,500 crore which has been facing heat from China’s influence that has grown by leaps and bounds during past few years,” he added.
Rise in cost of raw materials, overall inflation have also discouraged people from buying firecrackers and this trend has been going on for past few years now, noted the ASSOCHAM survey. However, many of the firecracker traders in the surveyed cities said they were hoping against hope with people likely to turn up in large numbers to make last minute purchases.