Ludhiana: This festival season seems to be the toughest for cracker traders, who are ruing record fall in sales even as Diwali nears.
With the government pushing for green crackers, businessmen’s investment too has doubled as these cost twice as much as the normal crackers. As the last-ditch effort to attract customers, the traders are offering free home delivery service and introducing offers on social media.
On November 6, the sale of crackers started at six designated spots in Ludhiana and two sites in Khanna and Jagraon.
Tribhuwan Thapar, a member of the Ludhiana Wholesale Fireworks’ Association, said, “It’s a double blow for cracker traders. On the one hand, they have made massive investment in green crackers, which are very costly as compared with the traditional and Chinese ones, and on the other, duration for bursting crackers has been limited only to two hours on Diwali. Besides, fear of coronavirus is keeping residents from visiting markets. But we are doing our best to cater to our customers and have started home delivery service. Residents can even place their orders through WhatsApp.”
Harish Singla, another cracker trader, said, “Over the years, the business of crackers has become non-lucrative. But 2020 has turned out to be the worst year. We are seeing a record drop in the customer footfall. All this has come at a time when our input cost has risen sharply due to several reasons. We were anticipating that this year our sales will shoot up as almost all the companies have introduced green crackers. But reality turned out to be bitter for us.”
Chintu Kumar, who has set up his cracker stall at Dana Mandi, Jalandhar Bypass, said, “I have been in this business for many years. This is the first time that even with three days before Diwali there is so little business. With the bursting allowed only for two hours, few customers are turning up. Traders have made massive investment in buying green crackers, paying licence fees, setting up of stalls and hiring staff. If the situation remains the same, we will suffer record losses this year.”