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Not so happy Diwali for merchants as firecracker sales dip in Bengal due to GST

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 18 October 2017, 19:37 IST

The faulty implementation of the Goods and Services tax has badly hit the sale of firecrackers across the country and West Bengal is no exception.

Merchants say that firecrackers fall under the luxury goods items category, which has a high GST rate of 28%. As a result, the price of firecrackers has increased.

As a result of the steep price of the firecrackers, there has been a decline in their sale.

According to a fireworks sellers’ association member Riddhiman Saha, “This year we have seen a 60% dip in sale of firecrackers compared to previous years and business has hit been badly due to implementation of GST.

Debangshi Roy a firecracker buyer said “Normally I used to buy firecrackers from Dharmatala Market in Kolkata. This year I saw that the price of six packets of shells cost Rs 180. Last year I bought it for Rs 110. Moreover the price of locally made sparklers has also increased from Rs 60 per packet to Rs 120 per packet”.

The members of the association also pointed out that the rent for firecracker stalls has also increased from Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000 per day and most of the stall owners are unable to pay the exorbitant rent due to a fall in sales.

According to a few customers who were buying firecrackers from Lake Market and Gariahat Market in South Kolkata, the price of items such as rockets, shots and shells have increased significantly after the implementation of GST.

According to Saha, the average daily sale for a fireworks’ stall is around Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 and it is difficult for small stall-owners to pay the rent. The return on investment is so less, that some stall owners have already decided to sell other lighting items during Diwali next year rather than selling firecrackers and setting up their stalls in various markets in the state.

Speaking on the issue, West Bengal Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said, “We have already said that small traders have been affected badly due to GST. This includes the fireworks market. We have urged the Centre to look into the shortcomings in the GST so that small traders aren’t affected”.

First published: 18 October 2017, 19:37 IST