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TN firecracker industry jacks up prices ahead of Deepavali

Chennai, Oct 15 (BPNS)

Tamil Nadu firecracker industry which constitutes the supply of around 90 percent of the demands of firecrackers in the country, has jacked up the prices. The major issues for this increased pricing of firecrackers are the legal issues related to green crackers being used in the industry and also heavy rains.

The possibility of cracker prices going up even up to 50 percent in Tamil Nadu retail market is predicted by the traders who have been in the industry for years. Manickam (50) who is a trader in firecrackers at Ashok  Nagar, Chennai while speaking to BPNS said, “ The firecrackers are now going through a bad phase. With green crackers being made the norm and even long-chain crackers being banned, the fun is gone. Heavy rains in Tamil Nadu have led to a dip in production of firecrackers leading to the prices being shot up.  Prices when compared to last year is now 20% higher and this will go up and may even touch 50% in the days to come.”

The sparkles including Kambi Thiri, Pookutti, and floor chakras require drying, and heavy rains in Virudhunagar district which houses almost all the production houses of Tamil Nadu were inundated leading to less drying. The demand as usual is heavy but the supply is less and this has also led to an increase in the prices of firecrackers.

Muthukumaran, who runs a firecracker unit employing around 100 workers while speaking to BPNS said, “ The industry is facing harrowing times. First, we were fighting the legal issues over the green crackers and removing barium nitrate from the cracker industry. Second is heavy rains leading to less production and we have no other option but to increase the prices and the industry as a whole has advocated for this.”

The production has dipped by around 50 percent as the green cracker norms are implemented and the manufacturing of crackers as per the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) is difficult and time-consuming.

Another issue is the import cost of raw materials that is plaguing the industry and the restrictions in many North Indian states including New Delhi on the bursting of crackers. It may be noted that there have been time restrictions in bursting crackers citing air pollution.

Mohammed Hassan, a third-generation trader of firecrackers at Arumbagam in Chennai while speaking to BPNS said, “ We are yet to touch the pre- Covid sale in Tamil Nadu. In 2019 before Covid -19, in Chennai alone, the Deepavali sale was around Rs 125 crore but now it is much less than that. Coupled with the increase in prices by the Sivakasi factories and the green norms, the supply is less, and demand as usual is more. So it has to be seen how we strike a balance and sell crackers without bringing in losses to us.”