Coronavirus crisis dampens cracker sales in Hyderabad city
Diwali 2020 is poised to be largely a festival of lights true to its connotation
Hyderabad: Will Diwali this year prove to be a dampened one with no fireworks? Though there has been no official announcement from the government authorities on whether it would permit the bursting of crackers or not, there is an underlying public mood against purchasing crackers.
The fear of Covid seems to be weighing strong on their minds. In fact, one does not see much activity despite the festival drawing so close. Also, the widespread news of Karnataka and Delhi governments banning bursting of crackers is fuelling rumours that the State government may also toe the line. This is surely ringing alarm bells for wholesalers of crackers in the city.
With just a week left for the festival, they are worried a lot watching the public refrain. Leave alone any rise, there has in fact been a slump of 70 per cent in sales of crackers as compared to last year. "Hardly any customers are showing in interest in buying crackers and those few trickling in are more interested in flower pots. The hustle-bustle of crowded shops and long queues will not be there this year," says Anup Kashyup, Cracker Wholesaler, Devi Matha Crakers, Chintal.
Speaking about the purchasing behaviour of customers, another wholesaler K Jagdish says that enthusiasm for the celebration of Diwali is missing among the customers. "Customers are purchasing crackers for a formality and with a basic amount up to Rs 4,000 to Rs 9,000. Whereas in the previous year, an average middle-class customer used to spend around Rs 10,000-18,000," he said. Rahul Pothnak, a businessman in Begum Bazar, informed that with the government restricting bursting of crackers only to a few hours and given the general financial fraility of society, shipments of crackers to the city have come down by at least 40%. Even the cracker manufacturers in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere cut back on manufacturing drastically. "Sales might improve in the next coming days," he added with a note of hope. "It's difficult to celebrate the festival as in the past due to the crippling impact of the Covid pandemic," said P Bhagya Lakshmi, a customer while purchasing crackers in Ameerpet on Friday.
RWAs root for eco-friendly Diwali
People in Hyderabad will be missing the high decibel of noise of Lakshmi bombs, atom bombs, thick smoke emanating from crackers, rockets zooming, children bursting crackers in groups and families exchanging sweets. We are still not free from coronavirus and there is need to take utmost precautions. We cannot gather in groups and what's more the smoke produced by crackers could turn out to be lethal for Covid-19 patients and also senior citizens, say Resident Welfare Associations (RAW) while urging citizens to make Diwali a smoke-free affair.
In the interest of environmental protection and for ensuring general health of our residents, it would be better if this year citizens observe Diwali only as a festival of lights, without causing air and noise pollution. For lighting, use thick oils, like castor oil, and not kerosene, which is a petroleum product. Make it more a social event,"
– Dr Rao VBJ Chelikani, President, United Federation of Residents' Welfare Associations (UFRWA)
There have been quite a few Covid patients in our area. Crackers can turn the air deadly for them. In terms of environment let us celebrate more healthy and eco-friendly Diwali this year. We have asked Bolarum residents, instead of spending money on crackers, it would be better if they feed the needy. Also as winter is fast approaching it would be better if they donate blankets"
– Murali Krishna, Working President, Federation of New Bolarum Colonies
We have not received any guidelines on Diwali celebrations from the State government. As inhaling of smoke it can harm health, we asked residents in GHMC limits to celebrate the Festival of Lights by lighting 'diyas' instead of busting crackers,"
– BT Srinivasan, General Secretary, UFRWA, Greater Hyderabad
As this year all festivals are being celebrated on a low key, we are appealing to residents of Tarnaka and also those in the City not to burst crackers, as it can be harmful. In advance we have notified the residents in social media so that we can celebrate pollution-free Diwali,"
– Syed Khaled Shah, Joint Secretary, Tarnaka Residents' Welfare Association
As Diwali is Festivals of Lights and not sounds, this year it would better if people say no to crackers. We are planning to ask our residents to celebrate Diwali on a small scale and also be eco-friendly. As they are many Covid home isolation patients in the City, smoke and sound could worsen the situation. So we have asked our residents to celebrate Diwali in a peaceful manner,"
– Maj Shiv Kiran, UFRWA, Begumpet