Pune: While Diwali lanterns, decorations, gift items and wall hangings in the market have a ‘Made in India’ flavour, cheap and fancy LED lights from China still rule the roost. In Pune’s markets, only four India-made decorative lighting options are available, with very few takers.
Shopkeepers revealed that inquisitive buyers often ask whether what they are purchasing is made in India or not.
The market is flooded with handmade lanterns, wall hangings, floating diyas and gift items.
Ajay Bhosale, a seller of lanterns at Bohri Ali, said, “Mostly all Diwali products are handmade, and consumers are avoiding Chinese products. Since last three years, jute lantern is trending.”
He explained that though shopkeepers have Chinese products in stock, the strong anti-China sentiment which picked up pace during the Ganeshotsav is still there.
However, the decorative fairy lights and LED lights, made in China, are still in high demand. Namchand Gada, a retailer of LED lights at Bhori Ali, said, “There are only four India-made LED lights available in the market including Kolhapuri light, big bulb light, panti light and kalas light.”
Gada added that the only difference between the lights made in India and China is that, the wires of the indigenous built ones are stronger and thicker than the Chinese counterparts, so it lasts longer.
However, durability takes a beating when it comes to cost. “The Chinese LED lights are available at Rs 30 while the Indian varieties are handmade and cost Rs 200.”
Though there is no change in the cost of earthen Diyas transported from Kolkata and Gujarat, the sellers in Pune are shelling out a little extra to cover the increased transportation cost due to hike in petrol prices.
Yogesh Shinde, a retailer of diyas at Kumbharwada in Pune, said, “All the diyas are made in Kolkata and Gujarat as they need ‘Lal mitti’ to prepare. As the petrol price has increased, the transportation cost has increased from 5 to 6 per cent. But that has not affected the resale price.”
The Goods and Service Tax (GST) is levied on packed painted diyas. “But the price of painted diyas has hiked by only Rs 5 or Rs 10. Regardless of the rates of painted diyas, consumers are still purchasing it according to their preferences,” said Piyush Baddhankar, another retailer of diyas at Kumbharwada.