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Awareness campaigns bring down cracker sales

Bangalore, Nov 1, 2013, DHNS: 3:38 IST
People celebrate Deepavali at Infantry Road in Bangalore on Friday. DH Photo/ S K Dinesh
A sharp decline in cracker sales could ensure a much quieter Deepavali in the city. Triggered by anti-cracker awareness campaigns launched by schools and other agencies, the fall in sales has been hastened by rising costs.

The dip in sales is as high as 20-25 per cent, as a multi-city countrywide survey by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) reveals. Although cracker costs have soared 10-20 per cent, the sales decline is attributed more to the general awareness about the harmful effects of crackers.

This year’s trend is a continuation of the poor sales recorded in 2012 and 2011, when the fall was as steep as 15 per cent.

The trend couldn’t have been otherwise, since Bangaloreans like private-firm employee Anil Kumar have drastically cut their cracker expenses. For Kumar, it was always a ritual to buy firecrackers worth nearly Rs 10,000 for each of the three days of Deepavali. This year however, he chose not to spend beyond Rs 1,000.

“For a number of days now, we have been seeing various awareness campaigns on the harmful effects of bursting crackers. While at the back of our minds we always knew what it implied, this year we decided to help the cause by celebrating in a limited way,” he told Deccan Herald.

The declining enthusiasm was evident at the firecracker market in Sultanpet. On Friday, the market bore a deserted look, a far cry from last year.

Palanivel, a small-time firecracker-seller at the market, made a telling remark on the scenario. “For small players like us, it is a hard existence these days. This pack of crackers here usually sells for Rs 535. However now even after reducing its price to Rs 124 there are very few takers,” he sighed.

Muniraj, a teacher from Chintamani, will also be celebrating Deepavali with caution this year. The rise in the prices of essential commodities has dampened his festive spirit. Muniraj and his family have therefore decided to curb their spendings on firecrackers. “In such a situation, spending too much on something like firecrackers seems a bit useless. I and my family will light lamps more than bursting crackers this year.”

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