|Sivakasi’s fireworks industry hopes for a cracker of a Diwali|
Sivakasi’s fireworks industry hopes for a cracker of a Diwali
The Covid-19-led lockdown has cost Sivakasi fireworks manufacturers 43 days (30 per cent) of production, which in value terms translates to roughly ₹700 crore. But they have not lost hope. They have ramped up production since re-opening their factories in May and are hoping that people will celebrate Diwali whole-heartedly in order to forget the pandemic.
Annual fireworks manufacturing is valued at ₹3,000 crore, but this year it will be ₹2,300 crore due to the loss of 43 days of production, said P Ganesan, Director, Sony Fireworks, and President, The Tamil Nadu Fireworks Amorces Manufacturers’ Association.
Ganesan said that 1,070 units manufacturing fireworks in Sivakasi have been active after opening in a phased manner since May 7. “Over three lakh employees are directly employed in these units. None of the workers were affected during the lockdown. We took care of them well even during the lockdown and paid a bonus during a local festival in April,” Ganesan said. Another five lakh are employed with vendors, he added.
After months of lockdown, Diwali is the first major festival which people have a chance to celebrate with their loved ones. It is also the first festival where people can spend on clothes, sweets and crackers, he added.
When asked how people will spend in these uncertain times, Ganesan said, “On Saturdays, the sale in Tasmac shops for liquor is close to ₹300 crore. There is enough money with people. It is only 10 per cent of the population, especially those employed with sectors like hospitality that are most affected,” he said.
Agreeing with Ganesan, G Abiruben, Managing Director, Ayyan Fireworks Factor (P) Ltd, said, this Diwali will be special. For months, people have been at home without any enjoyment, and Diwali will give them an opportunity to come out and have fun, he said.
The industry which has been practicing social distancing for years did not find the new standard operating procedures (SOPs) cumbersome. The distance between two workers in the sector has always been 6.5 ft. There will be four people in a room, and the distance between two rooms will be 12 metres, he said.
Another good news for the sector is that the threat of Chinese imports has receded significantly. Both Ganesan and Abiruben said the Government of India, for the last three years, has thwarted Chinese imports. There is no way Chinese crackers can enter the country this year too, they said.
Fireworks manufacturers are ready to have a blast. But it is still early days to say for sure whether people who are battling an uncertain future will choose to blow away their Covid-19-related stress by bursting crackers and celebrating Diwali like never before.