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Firecrackers: Cost a bomb, hard to resist

Nov. 13: The rising prices of firecrackers, earthen lamps and Diwali-related decorative items have failed to dampen the festive spirit of Diwali and Kali Puja with people celebrating the festival of lights by bursting firecrackers and exchanging gifts.

The entire city was decked up with colourful lights that resembled a starlit night sky.

People were seen flocking to the Puja pandals to pray to Goddess Kali last night. Some communities also offered prayers to Goddess Lakshmi on the occasion.

The market is, in fact, flooded with firecrackers of varied shapes and sizes. However, the prices of these firecrackers were enough to raise one’s eyebrow. While a packet of 10 kalash or flowerpot, a type of firecracker, cost Rs 200, a similar packet of chokori cost Rs 140 and a packet of two huge kalashes cost Rs 200. Starting from a range of Rs 20-25, crackers were available up to a range of Rs 500 and above.

“It is true that all firecrackers and decorative diyas have become expensive but Diwali comes once in a year and we all like to burst crackers. I have bought crackers worth Rs 800 and will burst them with my friends and family in the evening,” said Nilim Deka, a youngster.

According to sources, there has been a 25 per cent hike in prices of firecrackers this year. Apart from indigenous firecrackers, Chinese crackers are also available in certain shops here. Vendors, however, blamed the fire that broke out in three firecracker-making factories in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu for the increasing prices this year.

“I have stocks of different firecrackers and in different ranges. All are available in the market and are made in Sivakasi. The cost of firecrackers has gone up immensely mainly because of the fire that broke out in the three factories in Sivakasi. The increased prices are affecting our sales and we are selling less number of crackers this time,” said Mintu Singh, a vendor in Fancy Bazar.

The various types of decorative candles, earthen lamps and other items on display in the market are a temptation that shoppers find hard to forego. Ranging from Rs 10, these items cost up to Rs 1,000 or more.

“I bought some colourful diyas as the surroundings appear very attractive when lit. I have also brought some decorative terracotta items. Though the items are expensive, it is hard to resist their beauty,” said Anita Sarma, a homemaker.

“While the small colourful earthen lamps cost Rs 10, the medium and large ones cost Rs 25-35 and Rs 50 or more respectively. The more intricate and colourful the diyas, the higher are the prices. A packet of four small decorative candles cost between Rs 35 and Rs 40. The beautiful decorative hangings with religious symbols woven into them cost about Rs 1,000 or more,” said Nitin Agarwal, a vendor.