Chennai: Effective December 1, the price of a matchbox would be Rs 2, as against Rs 1 currently; this is in view of the rise in production cost, triggered by an increase in price of raw materials, the industry body said on Sunday. If it is some consolation, consumers would, however, get more matchsticks in a box when they buy it at Rs 2 -- up from 36 matchsticks to 50 per box. The proposed price increase comes after a gap of 14 years, Secretary of the National Small Matchbox Manufacturers Association, V S Sethurathinam, said.
The price of raw materials has increased leading to a jump in cost of production, he said, adding "We have no other option but to increase the selling (Maximum Retail Price) price." The price of all the 14 key raw materials has increased. "The price of red phosphorous has increased from Rs 410 to Rs 850 (per kilo), wax from Rs 72 to Rs 85, potassium chlorate Rs 68 to Rs 80 and splints (sticks) from Rs 42 to Rs 48. The price of outer box is up from Rs 42 to Rs 55 and the inner box from Rs 38 to Rs 48.''
''The rise in fuel prices is also a factor. It has led to an increase in transportation cost."
"After about six months we may review the situation. In 2007, the price was increased from fifty paisa to Rs 1 per matchbox," he said. About five lakh people are dependent on the matchbox industry directly and indirectly and 90 per cent of the workforce is women, he said.
Tamil Nadu is a leading manufacturer of matchboxes.