05 August, 2021

Bang Off Target

Fresh bans against firecrackers threaten the industry

Bang Off Target

FOR the firecracker manufacturers at Sivakasi, there's little to cheer about this Diwali. If this year's festival of lights is anything to go by, they'll be seeing less and less of Goddess Lakshmi in the years to come. "Diwali accounts for about 70 per cent of our annual sales. And every year, firecracker sales show a 15 per cent increase during Diwali. But this year they are stagnant," says a cracker manufacturer in this town in south Tamil Nadu.

By the looks of it, things can only get worse for this town, which accounts for virtually the entire Rs 450 crore of fire-crackers that are produced in the country each year. The 450-odd manufacturers—mostly in the small-scale sector—in Sivakasi are currently facing a two-pronged attack. To begin with is the recession bugbear that's plaguing most of the industries in the country today. And firecrackers are no exception. But while that may be a temporary phenomena, there is a far greater fear for the town of Sivakasi, which virtually revolves around the fireworks industry. This year,...

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