Vendors feel the heat as sale of firecrackers fizzles out in Mysuru

Awareness about ill-effects on environment, GST impact sales

Sale of firecrackers has been on the decline in Mysuru this year. According to vendors, there has been a drastic drop in sales by at least 50% as compared to last year. Vendors peg the drop in sales to an increase in awareness drives against the harmful effects of crackers.

Sureshgowda, a vendor at J K Grounds where space has been provided by the authorities for temporary shops to sell firecrackers, said that not many people are showing interest in bursting crackers. "Many are concerned about the environment and are asking for crackers which do not impact the environment," he said.

He said that there has been an increase in awareness in schools by various organisations who have been conducting programmes about the harmful effects of crackers on nature. He said that this has been deterring children from buying crackers. “Even my children are not ready to burst crackers as their teachers have asked them not to burst crackers,” he said. Flower pots, chakras and sparklers are nonetheless in good demand, he said.

Nitesh of Chamundeshwari Crackers Stall said that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has also impacted sales. Earlier, it was 14% tax but now it has been increased to 28% which has resulted in the price hike. “Not many people are coming forward to purchase crackers due to the high prices. Business is thus dull as compared to last year. Besides GST, incessant rains since Dasara have also contributed to the decline in sales,” he said.

Vendors are hoping that there will be more customers on Friday. Vinay, a vendor, said that people have also slashed their budget for purchasing crackers leading to losses for sellers like him.

Thejus, a college student, who was in J K Grounds to purchase crackers, said that he decided not to spend more on crackers as it was a waste of money and also caused pollution. “I used to burst crackers worth Rs 1,000 every year but this time I planned to reduce my expenditure and also avoid polluting the environment. Thejus purchased crackers worth Rs 150.

'No China-made crackers'

This year, vendors abstained from stocking crackers made in China in the market. “We have boycotted Chinese crackers and only those produced in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu are available in the market,” Sureshgowda said. As many as 17 stalls have been opened on the J K Grounds.

Fireworks of a different kind

A verbal altercation ensued between firecracker vendors and supporters of MLA M K Somashekar at J K Grounds on Wednesday during an anti-crackers campaign. The volunteers, led by the MLA, had launched the campaign in front of the Town Hall and moved towards J K Grounds. When the volunteers reached the grounds, the vendors opposed the campaign and took exception to Somashekar leading the campaign.

A vendor said that the MLA, who is also a part of the government, was displaying double standards. "While the government is issuing the licence to sell crackers, the MLA is opposing it. We would not sell crackers if the government had banned them," he said.

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