Guntur: The increased prices of fireworks, campaigns against pollution caused bny crackers and the warning of heavy rain have dampened sales.
According to estimates, traders in Guntur district used to do Rs 30-crore worth business in fireworks every year. It has fallen to a fraction of that amount, a trader said.
A trader hoped for clear weather on Thurday so that late shoppers would buy crackers on Diwali day. Stalls selling fireworks have sprung up on the Gunta Ground, Pitchukalagunta and AC College ground at Guntur and in majority mandal headquarters towns.
Only a few customers were seen at the stalls on Wednesday, indicative of the poor sales.
Buyers complained about the huge increase in prices. Mr K. Subbaraju, Mr Murugesh and Mr Sujay who were shopping for crackers said the cost of Lakshmi bombs, rockets and bullet bombs which were priced at Rs100 to Rs 200 per packet last year were now costing Rs 200 to Rs 750 per packet depending on the quality and quantity.
They said that the prices of the traditional bhuchakram (ground wheel) and Bijli crackers had also increased. A family has to spend at least Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 to get a reasonable quantity of crackers, which hsa become a big financial burde, they said.
Traders D. Govind and N, Rajesh stated that the imposition of GST had increased the cracker prices. They said sales were affected by predictions of heavy rain over the next two days. They hoped the meteorological had got their predictions wrong.
They said people were purchasing fire crackers on a tight budget only to keep the children happy. They lamented that the campaigns of social service organization and government about pollution had begun to show its impact on the sale of crackers.