Sound of silence: Firecracker business loses sparkle in Pune
Pune: Traders and retailers who are into the business of fireworks are having sleepless nights after many states are banning firecrackers ahead of Diwali to curtail the spread of novel coronavirus.
Though the production was impacted at all the factories during the wedding as well as the festive season, fireworks manufacturers in India’s cracker hub, Shivkasi, were optimistic at first. However, now, many states have begun banning the sale of crackers.
Talking about Maharashtra, Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday hinted at a ban on firecrackers ahead of Diwali. Ankush Kakade, NCP’s (Nationalist Congress Party) state unit general secretary, wrote a letter to Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar requesting him to impose a ban on firecrackers during Diwali.
Kakade, in his letter, wrote, “COVID-19 produces breathing issues, and inhalation smoke of the crackers will surge the problems of COVID-19 patients. There are many scientific reports which have already revealed the dangers of bursting firecrackers. This might lead to an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients.”
This year, the upcoming festival will bring no smile to hundreds of wholesalers and retailers of firecrackers in Pune who eagerly look forward Diwali. The festival usually brings them a little more earning and happiness as well.
One of the traders in the city, Aditya Nule, said, “The government has not made a final decision about the ban on the sale. Yes, health should be given the priority but we are facing huge losses from the past seven months. We didn’t make any business during the wedding season as well as during Ganesh festival.”
He also said, “Once we order the consignment, we cannot return them to manufacturers. If the festive season does not work well it will be a huge burden for the entire industry.”
Another distributor who wishes to remain unnamed said, "If the government had to ban the firecrackers in Diwali, it could have declared its decision earlier so that we did not go through losses. Now, all of a sudden if the government decides to ban, what to do about the stock we have already piled up?”
While streets and alleys are filled with small shops selling decorative products, diyas, colourful trinkets, flowers and more, shops selling firecrackers are few and far between now.