Sale of crackers in the city has rather been slow-paced owing to the increase in prices and wet weather, say retailers. At a time when sound of crackers would resonate for days on end, citizens seem to have lost interest, a wholesaler dealer who did not want to be identified said. “Anti-pollution campaign and greater environmental awareness among residents appears to have had an impact, with sales recording a steep drop. There has been at least a 40% drop,” he added.
The Supreme Court ruling, fixing a specific time to burst crackers has also had a significant role to play. People are also spending a lot less on crackers, said S. Muthu, who runs a cracker shop in Puthur. “Earlier, a family would spend around Rs.5,000. The same family would now spend less than Rs.1,000,” said Mr. Muthu said adding, Deepavali has also fallen at the end of the month when wallets run dry. The Tamil Nadu government for the second year in a row has fixed time slots for bursting of crackers during Deepavali, in line with a Supreme Court order.
As per the State government’s directions, residents can burst crackers between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. and then between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.Some wholesalers also noted that the wet weather dampens crackers and spirits alike. “Nobody wants to celebrate Deepavali in the rain. The interest in bursting crackers will come down if it rains. At the same time, crackers begin to soak up the moisture in the air and do not light well. Those cannot be sold to customers and are wasted,” said Mr. Muthu.
Meanwhile, green crackers, which which are touted to be less noisy and polluting, are not easily available in Tiruchi. Some wholesale dealers claim they are not available in the market yet. “Although the concept seems new, we have not received any specific guidelines on them. How are we to sell them if we don’t know what they are?” asks one wholesaler.
(source : The Hindu)