Wholesalers at the Kurali cracker market have not placed orders for Chinese crackers this year to protest that country’s support to Pakistan in the wake of the Uri attacks of September 15.
The market supplies crackers to authorised as well as unauthorised dealers in Chandigarh, SAS Nagar, Panchkula, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and parts of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir
The annual turnover from here is around Rs 10 crore, of which Chinese crackers contribute around 60%.
“China has supported Pakistan, a country that is fuelling terrorism. We did not place order for Chinese crackers this year. This is our contribution towards checking sale of Chinese goods,” said Harish Bathla, one of the oldest wholesalers in Kurali.
“We should also support our defence forces and this in one way to do this, even if it means short-term loss in revenue,” added another wholesaler Ashok Kumar.
“There are no Chinese crackers in the market even as customers want the cheaper option. With no supply of Chinese crackers there is no sale,” Sahil Sood, a retailer in Kurali, who had rented out space to sell crackers.
SUBSTANDARD AND DUPLICATE CRACKERS NEW THREAT
With the market going without its main ware, sub-standard and duplicate crackers are getting a chance to make inroads and people looking for cheap crackers are buying these.
“Most Indian crackers are ordered from Sivakasi, but transportation cost and taxes inflate their cost. Now, some retailers are selling crackers made in Dhuri, Mansa, Rajpura, Amritsar and Saharapur. Their quality is an issue and they sell cheap as they do not pay any tax,” said Hari Om, another cracker seller in Kurali, adding that most customers could not easilu distinguish quality.
SALE DIP BY 40%
Apart from increased rates of crackers, growing awareness among children owing to the ‘No-Cracker’ campaign by the schools have led to a dip in sales by 40% for the wholesalers and well as retailers in Kurali and Chandigarh.
Chandigarh administration has earmarked seven sites, while SAS Nagar has earmarked 18 sites for sale of crackers and that too for three days.
“Crackers are not to be sold without licence and action will be taken against people selling crackers without permission,” said SAS Nagar deputy commissioner DS Mangat. He added that to date, 60 licences have been issued for sale and storage of the crackers. Complying with the SC orders, crackers can be sold from 6-10pm. The bursting of crackers is banned from 10pm to 6am..