|Fireworks hub in India|
Fireworks hub in India
Sivakasi, also known as Kutty Japan (Little Japan), provides 90% of India’s fireworks and 80% of safety matches. Some 70% of the printing happens here, say industry sources. Currently, the fireworks industry of Sivakasi is pegged at ₹1,800 crore per annum. There are illegal units too whose business is pegged at ₹2,000 crore by Tanfama.
A. P. Selvaraj, managing partner of Kaliswari Fireworks, said that until August, there was a production shortage at his company.
“When I decided to increase the production, the rain came in and played spoilsport,” he said. He says his firm has seen a 30-40% dip in production.
The smaller units in Sivakasi said that it was business as usual for them. Inquires revealed that these units accepted pre-bookings using the demonetised ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes. A manufacturer said: “Many firms accepted the banned notes and paid their employees, who in turn exchanged it at their banks.” Tanfama Secretary Mr. Mariappan added, “For a section of ‘bold’ industrialists and the majority of the illegal sector, demonetisation was a windfall as they took a risk and accepted the demonetised currency notes from traders as advance payment.”
One shop along the Sivakasi-Virudhunagar highway road also wore a deserted look. There are over 60-odd shops on this belt. “I have had only about 25% sales when compared to last year. Post GST, people have tightened their purses — some have reduced their budgets while others are just not buying crackers,” said S. Subash Chandrabose, who runs a shop at Tiruthangal. With the monsoon getting better, he expects people to spend more on firecrackers during Dussehra, leading up to Deepavali.