‘Unhappy’ Diwali: Ban on Chinese fireworks does not mean desi sale boost!

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Ahmedabad, Oct 28:Ban on import and sale of Chinese fireworks has virtually failed to boost domestic firecracker sales as traders have registered an overall 20 per cent decline in indigenously-manufactured firecrackers’ demand leading to a loss of nearly 30,000 jobs in recent past, business body Assocham said on Friday.

An Assocham survey across major cities reported poor business owing to anti-cracker campaigns run by schools, resident welfare associations (RWAs) and others.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) interacted with firecracker wholesalers, retailers and traders in 10 cities — Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chennai, Dehradun, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Mumbai – -to gauge the enthusiasm and demand for firecrackers together with the 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 these cities where Assocham representatives surveyed during the last 25 days.

Most of the traders said they have seen a sharp decline of about 20 per cent year-on-year from the past five years and have also almost halved the amount of crackers they used to get in the wake of poor sales.

“Banning Chinese firecrackers was a welcome move 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 D.S. Rawat, Secretary-General, Assocham.

About a hundred firecracker manufacturing 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, he said.

He said there are about 800 licensed firecracker making units in Sivakasi where this industry accounted for a market of about Rs. 2,500 crore. This has been facing heat from Chinese products whose import has grown by leaps and bounds during past few years.
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Rise in cost of raw materials and overall inflation have also discouraged people from buying firecrackers over the last few years now.