Visakhapatnam: With Diwali a week away, firecracker businessmen in Vizag city say that they expect sales as well as profits to dip by up to 30 per cent this year when compared to the previous year. They say that with the roll out of Goods and Services Tax, they have to sell firecrackers at the MRP, so there will be no chance of giving discounts, impacting sales.
Interestingly, not only the buyers, but also firecracker traders and officials of the fire safety department are clueless about the Supreme Court’s concept of ‘green crackers’. However, the officials said that they will impose the apex court order on bursting of firecrackers on Diwali between 8 pm to 10 pm.
“If anyone violates the SC order, they will face the music from the officials concerned,” they said.
“The license fee for setting up a stall is Rs 20,000. We have to spend another Rs 10,000 on the stall itself as we have to follow the norms prescribed by the GVMC, fire and police departments. Due to the increased licence fee and other expenses, the number of stalls number may be around 200 this season from the 320 last year,” said A. Krishna, a trader.
“We are ready to sell green crackers but we first need to know what they are. The manufacturers in Tamil Nadu have no idea and the fire, police and pollution control department authorities are unable to define green crackers,” said K. Ramakrishna, another trader. “The restrictions on the time to burst the crackers may hit business,” Mr Ramakrishna added.
P. Mohan, a trader, said that due to increased awareness on noise and air pollution, Vizagties have slightly lost interest in bursting firecrackers. “If we sell the crackers at MRP, sales will further dip,” he said.
Mr Mohan said that before GST, they used to give up to 70 per cent discount on the MRP. “It’s difficult to expect brisk business without offering discounts,” he said.
DFO, Fire Prevention Wing of GVMC, J. Mohan Rao said that they were yet to get clear instructions from the state government on the timings to burst the firecrackers.
“We will educate the citizens once we get the clear directions. Mostly, it will be between 8 pm and 10 pm,” he said....