With Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging people to celebrate ‘desi Diwali’ by using products made in India, instead of foreign ones, the sale of Chinese Diwali lanterns and LED lights in the city have dropped by 30% to 50%, said wholesalers and retailers.
The Chinese lights range in cost from Rs30 to Rs650, depending on the size and quality.
“If I earned Rs100 a day, this year, I have earned between Rs55 and Rs60. I have been selling Chinese lights for more than 10 years, but this year, it seems, people have taken the prime minister seriously,” said Kanhaiyala Lalchand, a shop owner at Dadar.
“There are around 100 shops here and all of them sell Chinese lights. You can’t stop that,” said Lalchand.
Dilip Naik, a wholesaler in Crawford Market, said, “Considering the tax system, manufacturing in India will raise the prices of such products. Having bought products for a cheap price all these years, people would still prefer Chinese lights over Indian.”
WATCH: For this Mumbai neighbourhood, Diwali means home-made lanterns
“Until the government stops importing Chinese lights, people will continue to buy them. The sales have, however, dipped by 50%,” said Naik.
“We buy Indian clay diyas for around Rs100. We also have to spend on the oil. But the Chinese lamps are sold at half the price and have wax in it. It saves money for a lower middle-class family,” said Bhikhoo Joshi,
who bought strings of Chinese LED lights from a market in Borivli.
Vidhya Thakkar, another buyer from Dadar market, said, “Some years ago, people used to buy Indian products as there were no Chinese lights in the market. What is the problem now? I would any day buy Indian diyas and lantern over Chinese products.”
“People are ready to spend more on traditional accessories this Diwali rather than buying cheap Chinese products, which is a welcome change,” said Tilay Mehta, an electric shop owner in Natraj Market in Malad.
Protest: Citizen group’s Diwali gift for BMC
This Diwali, civic officials will a unique gift from citizens.
A citizens’ group -- Free A Billion -- will on Wednesday protest outside the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) headquarters at Forg to demand better services.
Free A Billion, a newly-formed group with 20 core members, has been holding protests outside various ward offices in the city for the past 10 days. The group has been protesting for better garbage-managment, hawker-management, good roads, sanitation, better air-quality, getting rid of encroachment and illegal parking among other issues.
“Our protests will intensify as the BMC elections near. We want to tell Mumbaiites that we have to change the system and not just political parties. We have to make urban governance more inclusive for better services,” said Aparna Sundaresan from Free A Billion.