Firecracker boxes are arranged on the store shelves and these have names such as Chicklet, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Red Bull, 7Up, Railway Signal, Christmas Tree, Crackling Flower, Seven Shots and others. However, the footfall in the stores selling firecrackers in central Mumbai do not match the variety in the market.
Across the city, the staff at firecracker stores and stalls said that business was slack, the general sentiment was poor and the sales lower than what they had expected.Minesh Mehta, general secretary, Fireworks Dealers’ Welfare Association, said, “The sales have reduced by roughly 30 per cent this year. Earlier our shops would be so crowded that we would find it difficult to serve customers, but this year there is hardly any rush. People’s spending power has reduced and many have opted out of buying crackers this year.”
Sanket Khamkar of GW Khamkar Fireworks from Lalbaug, said, “There has been a slight decline in business this year. It could be due to the increased prices or due to the drought in the state. We are thinking of taking the business online next year to rake in more profits.”
Some attributed the decline in sales to increased awareness regarding pollution caused by firecrackers. This can be seen even in the market trend as people increasingly opt for less noisy items.
Sumaira Abdulali, noise pollution activist and founder of Awaaz Foundation, said, “Awareness regarding pollution has been increasing over the years. The peak decibel level has reduced. The loudest firecracker – Rassi bomb – used to create over 140 db noise, but that has come down to 117 db. People have also reduced the duration of Diwali celebrations. Earlier they would start bursting crackers even ten days before Diwali. Now, they only do it on the day of Diwali.” But not all are of the same opinion. Omkar Berde of Shree Laxmi Fireworks in Navi Mumbai said, “Business will be booming in the last few days of Diwali. Earlier people used to buy crackers in advance and stock them at home. Now, people buy it in the last minute.”
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