Both sellers and manufacturers of firecrackers in Mumbai said they would face losses worth Rs 25-30 crores, if the state government had banned bursting of firecrackers this year. The sellers stated nearly 80 percent of their annual sales depend on the Diwali festival and Mumbai alone constitutes 25 percent of the total sales.
"The matter was being addressed by the government in the eleventh hour. Diwali is just a week away and by this time, sellers have already procured the raw materials from the suppliers in order to sell them" said Salim Ansari, a firecracker dealer in Lalbaugh market for more than decade.
Ansari said full-time dealers in Mumbai invest between Rs 2-5 crore for procuring the materials during Diwali every year while the remaining stocks get sold during the time of other festivals and weddings.
"Other than Diwali, firecrackers are sold during Ganpati festival, Dusshera and weddings. During the elections also, we get to do a decent business. But this year, everything happened in a low-key manner and so, we were heavily dependent on Diwali" Ansari added.
Most of the manufacturers are based on the outskirts of Mumbai. Sellers in Mumbai procure firecrackers from the districts which also cost them heavy logistical charges.
"We have taken godowns in Mumbai on rent where the firecrackers are being stored. Special care needs to be taken for preserving fire crackers fire accidents as the products are easily flammable and this increases our expenses" said Ayushman Patil, another dealer.
There are several households in Aurangabad, Nashik and Jalagaon, which are heavily dependent on firecrackers for their livelihood, he said. “If the crackers were banned, people would have been forced to live on the streets" Patil added.