Contrary to the idea of massive public opposition against the firecracker ban mandated by the Supreme Court, a steep decline in sales of firecrackers is being observed in almost all major cities, particularly this year.
Last year, after the Diwali celebrations, the residents of the National Capital Region (NCR) woke up to find that the air quality had reached a category which could only be described as ‘beyond-severe.’
As a result of the furore that followed, it is quite likely that people, not just in the Capital, but also around the country, are slowly becoming more conscious about their health and the environment they live in.
In fact, in Bengaluru alone, there has been a gradual dip in firecracker sales in the last few years, and a particularly significant dip (about 40-50 per cent) was observed this year!
“We have been seeing a gradual decline for the past four years. But this year, it’s been very low. While the Supreme Court ruling has had an impact, people themselves have started buying fewer crackers. People seem to be losing interest in them,” said the owner of Ganapathi Bandarkar & Sons, a wholesale firecracker shop on Avenue Road to The Hindu.
The streets of Mamulpet, Sultanpet, and Avenue Road are lined with some of the oldest firecracker retailers of the city, which once incurred epic-scale revenue during the festive season. However, today, they are also witnessing a drastic plunge in sales with a lesser number of customers walking in, to purchase even sparklers.
Although the sales haven’t entirely decimated, a common trend being observed is that families are now less keen to shell out money to purchase fireworks and crackers. “People are also spending a lot less on crackers. Earlier, a family would spend around ₹5,000. Now, it’s less than ₹1,000,” said Akash Ravikumar, who works at the Madhi Trading Company in Sultanpet.
Even wholesale dealers who set up stalls across the city in open public areas allocated by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) have begun to see a decline in the demand for crackers in comparison to last year, despite a significant cut in cost owing to GST regulations.
Interestingly, ‘green’ crackers are slowly making their way across the country, but are yet to hit the markets, at least in Bengaluru. They are undoubtedly less noisy and polluting, and we hope that they soon become available in stores and markets, for those who still want to celebrate their festivals with a bang, but are also conscious.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)