THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With just a day left for festival of lights Deepavali, fire cracker markets are buzzing in city. Though the number of stalls in Chalai market has come down drastically following the stringent conditions laid down for license post Puttingal temple tragedy, it has not dampened the spirits of people. While 15 shops functioned from Chala market last year, this time around their numbers have come down to 4. Most of the stalls used to get temporary licenses to run the shop during Deepawali.
Many of the persons who got licenses to sell crackers last festival, have failed to obtain these owing to strict conditions laid down by the authorities. Most applications were rejected by the authorities for lack of fire safety measures.“ Most of the fireworks shops in the market are temporary. I own a flower shop which is converted into crackers shop during festival season. While I secured license, some of our fellow shopkeepers were denied citing lack of safety. Since there are restrictions on high decibel fireworks, we are concentrating more on sparklers and flower pots,” said Prashant.
Laji from Pangod who is a salesman with fire works shop said the authorities were carrying out regular checking. “Last year Chinese fireworks were the star attraction for many people. But in view of the strong campaign against Chinese goods, such items are not flooding the markets as usual,” he said. On an average people are spending Rs 500 to Rs 5000 to buy variety of fire crackers. Gift packets which contain various fireworks in a single pack are available for Rs. 250 to 2500. Even though Sparkler price starts from Rs. 30 per packet, there are bigger ones which are expensive. Five pieces cost more than Rs 2500. Despite new items flooding the market, many customers still prefer traditional items like roll cap and toy guns to burst crackers.