Bazi Bazar sales gradually gain pace
Kolkata: The Bazi Bazar at Shahid Minar Maidan that kicked off from Saturday late afternoon is gradually picking up sales amidst apprehension from the traders that the rising price of crackers triggered from Goods and Service Tax (GST) may affect the sales this year. As many as 48 stalls have been set up at the Shahid Minar Maidan this year.
"The wholesale and retail market in all states including Bengal has been hit by GST. 28 percent has been imposed on firecrackers because of GST which was 18 percent. So naturally there has been a rise in price. So we are keeping our fingers crossed," S Ahmed, the proprietor of Azad Fireworks said. Ahmed owns a firecracker shop at Canning Street in Central Kolkata.
A number of shop owners rued the rise in rent of the shops that has risen from Rs 48,000 last year to Rs 72,000 this year.
Santanu Dutta, the treasurer of Bazi Bazar said that only a few variety of new firecrackers are available at the Bazaar. "Every year crackers from Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu will come in large numbers to the city. But this year due to the GST effect pushing up the price, the traders have not been able to import as much as they would have liked," Dutta said.
"People ask for newer varieties of shells. But most of the shells manufactured cross the threshold limit of 90 decibels.
"Most of the innovations and technologies in the fireworks industry are shell-based and cross the 90 decibel limit. Hence we cannot sell them," another shop owner said.
Ravi Agarwal of Bhowanipore who bought some firecrackers along with his son also complained of the price rise.
"The chakra that was priced around Rs 30-40 last year is selling in the range of Rs 60 to 70. The tubris are priced at over Rs 100," Agarwal said who was accompanied by his 10 year-old-son
The Bazi Bazaar which started in 1995, has also shrunk in size this year.
There were 56 stalls last year but this year it is 49. However, the weather office has predicted good weather in the next few days. "We hope that sales will pick up," another stall owner said.