Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers’ Association (TANFAMA) president, Ganesan Panjurajan said that following the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic, the price of raw materials skyrocketed a whopping 50 per cent and it has not declined till date.
“Naturally, it resulted in an increase in product prices between 30 and 35 per cent. The present Rs 6,000 crore retail turnover is only a ballpark figure and it reflects aspects like price increase,” he told PTI.
Considering all such factors, the present year’s turnover is more or less similar in value terms to business witnessed during Deepavali season from 2016 to 2019, he said.
During that period, the sale for each year was approximately between Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,000 crore.
In 2020 and 2021, the overall retail sales for each of these two years was less than the average for preceding years respectively, the TANFAMA chief said.
Asked about unsold stocks, Ganesan, who helms Sonny Fireworks said, “There is no inventory left with any of us.”
Asked which state, comparatively, lifted more stocks, he said the topper was Maharashtra, followed by Uttar Pradesh-Bihar region and Gujarat.
“Definitely, Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra bought a big chunk of total production.”
On the whole, he said people came forward across the country to spend on firecrackers after a hiatus of two COVID years.
“All the firecrackers that were manufactured were green, strictly in accordance with the guidelines of the Supreme Court and government authorities,” Ganesan said.
Since the use of barium nitrate is not allowed, the industry has switched to other permitted items like strontium nitrate and other oxidising agents, he said.
“However, we have a huge challenge in respect of things like strontium as they have a pretty short shelf-life and it also involves a more painstaking manufacturing process,” he said.
The Sivakasi region in Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar district is the national hub of fireworks industry.
Managing Director of Ayyan Fireworks, G Abiruben said the sale was brisk this year and the production and sale was out-and-out green crackers, that has led to 35 per cent reduction in emissions, in compliance with norms.
To a question on people’s choice and trends, he said people are moving towards ‘shots’ variety of fireworks that light up the skies with a spectacular display of sparkling colours and thrilling sounds.
It is an evident trend and more people are picking the light-sound-crackling variety of fireworks, he said. Flower pots, ‘ground chakras’, cracklers and rockets were among the other varieties that witnessed good sale.
Asked on the inventory, he told PTI that in view of the good sale, he said there is “nil stock” in his unit. There was good demand from almost everywhere, barring Delhi that imposed a ban.
Years ago, the approximate share of joint-crackers out of a bouquet of products was over Rs 1,000 crore and following the Supreme Court ban on use of barium nitrate in 2018, its production was halted. Popularly known as ‘Wala’ crackers, joint-crackers are well-known.
Also, there was a fall in overall production as a number of other varieties were also phased out in view of fresh norms.
Ayya Nadar, grandfather of Abiruben, was a pioneer who launched the first firecracker manufacturing unit in Sivakasi about a century ago.
Industry sources said that the grey market’s sales volumes cannot be ascertained. The pricing is opaque, which is a strategy and several factors influence the product-mix on offer for retail sale.
A section of retailers prefer such products as not only do they make some extra profit but also could sell it at reduced prices, attracting more customers.
Notwithstanding the several steps taken up by authorities, firecrackers of unlicensed units enters the open market and hence the grey market size is “anyone’s guess”, sources said.
About 8 lakh people in and around Virudhunagar district, directly and indirectly depend on the fireworks industry for their livelihood.
The price rise appears to have cushioned the organised industry which has witnessed relatively lower sales volumes in view of factors like the ban.
Deepavali was celebrated on October 24.