This Diwali, cracker dealers are incurring heavy losses and they attribute it to the change after mass awareness spread in schools to avoid crackers.
Most of the children are discouraging parents to buy crackers and even those who are going for it are asking shopkeepers for eco-friendly, paper-based crackers which are non-polluting and produce little noise. This trend has, however, added to the brisk sale of non-polluting crackers imported from China and other foreign nations as most crackers produced in India are noisy and polluting.
Talking to Newsline, Neeraj Kumar, general secretary of Wholesale and Retailers Crackers Market Association, Dana Mandi, the largest cracker market of Ludhiana, said, “Exact numbers cannot be estimated but from my experience of selling crackers since years, this year sales have gone down by 60-70%. Very few children have come to buy crackers and it is all because of the awareness and anti-crackers drive started in schools.”
Verma further said that ‘dealers were already aware of the approaching trend and thus consignments were called in limited numbers and still they have not been sold out.’ “We knew that interest of people in crackers is declining each year and limited stock was purchased but even that is not sold out,” he said. Another cracker dealer Balwinder Singh said, “Children are asking for eco-friendly crackers that create less noise. Children are buying them with great interest. The Indian crackers which are purchased from Tamil Nadu which is the hub of crackers is lowest this year. Children do not want polluting crackers.”
Unlike previous years, there are no customers making beeline to get crackers in Dana Mandi and huge stocks are lying back, said a dealer Tarun Grover. Ayush Aggarwal, a student of class VII said, “I love bursting crackers but our teacher told us that Ludhiana is one of the most polluted city in the world. I asked my parents to gift me a video game from the money which I might have spent on crackers and they agreed.”