Women rue high cost of pepper spray products

While the demand for self defence pepper spray products has increased after the December 2012 Delhi gang rape, people in Bangalore rue that they are not readily available and are priced exorbitantly. 

Asha Ashok, a working professional and mother of two-teenage daughters, purchased two pepper spray units but with difficulty. “I had to search on the Internet to find out and locate the medical stores and retail outlets to know where they are available. Also, only a handful of medical/retail stores have them. It would be good if the pepper spray manufacturers rope in Bangalore City Police to make the product reach out to masses, effectively.”

Pepper spray manufacturers maintained that they prefer selling pepper spray products through websites as it is a viable option and doesn’t need retail space. 

‘Less stock’

Abir Ghosh, a pepper spray manufacturer, said: “My company personally puts them for sale through dealers and websites as it is more economical. It is true that not many outlets and medical stores in Bangalore have a stock of them.” 

Cost factor is another reason which is preventing people from purchasing the product. 

The average price of each pepper spray unit ranges between Rs 300 and Rs 800 depending on sellers, size of unit, quality and others, according to the pepper spray manufacturers in the City. Syona D Costa, as HR professional, said she will never shell out so much money to buy it. 

“While working professionals can afford to buy, college students and unemployed women cannot due to its increased cost. One of my colleagues recently bought it and insisted me to buy, but I thought it is not worth buying. I would rather learn self-defence techniques that will help me all my life instead of buying pepper spray product that has a short-shelf life.”

Raana Singh, founder of Aax Global, that retails pepper spray products under ‘Cobra’ brand, said packaging the product, procuring the main ingredient ‘red chilli extract’, manufacturing them among others add up to the cost.  
 “However, we sell 15,000 pepper spray units monthly across India and the number has increased since the December, 2012 brutal gangrape, despite the price tag,” he added.  

Singh further suggested the idea of roping in City police and making the pepper spray units available at police stations.  He said a few years ago, his company used to supply pepper sprays at police stations in Aurangabad and Vijaywada to create an awareness among the public about the product.

Additional Commissioner of Police (Law & Order), Kamal Pant, said there is no question of police getting involved in helping sale of pepper sprays. “Selling them at police stations involves a lot of complications and can lead to misuse of the product by miscreants,” he added.    

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