Chennai, Oct 22
Many wholesale shops in Tamil Nadu selling firecrackers have witnessed a slump in business and traders have attributed the reduced demand due to a shortage of funds in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the high rates of the products.
With under two weeks left for Diwali on November 4, wholesale and retail shops for firecrackers in the state are wearing a festive look but with brisk business.
Business is quite dull in the busy Parry's corner in Chennai which has a huge wholesale market for firecrackers.
Abdul Hameed, a wholesale firecracker shop owner at T-Nagar in Chennai, while speaking to IANS said: "Business is quite slow and we are not able to meet our daily expenses. The main reason people cite for the shortage in business is lack of funds after the Covid-19 pandemic."
The shopkeepers unequivocally say that the rate of firecrackers has also increased manifold and this is again another reason for the poor sale.
Rajmohan Muruganatham, a wholesaler at Anderson street in Parry's, told IANS: "It seems to be a dull season and people have no money. However, we are expecting the business to pick up at least in the last four to five days and Deepavali business sustains us. It will be a dull year as far as business is concerned but I think we may do the bare minimum business to survive."
In several places across the state, retail shops are being set up in an effort to increase business.
The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) generally leases out nearly 3.25 lakh square feet of its space in Chennai to set up retail firecracker shops every year.
Sales at Island grounds where the TTDC land will be leased out for setting up retail firecracker outlets are expecting 1,000 visitors per shop each day till November 5.
The firecracker manufacturing industry in Sivakasi is however happy after Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin wrote to his counterparts in north Indian states to lift the ban on sale and use of firecrackers.
Many states have lifted the ban and this has helped the Sivakasi manufacturing units to send their products.
Rajendra Raja, Vice-President, the Indian Fireworks Manufacturing Association, said they have already sent crackers to north Indian states, adding that most of the firecracker manufacturers are shifting to green firecrackers in the coming days to cope up with the environmental regulations.