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A high price for festivities

This Diwali, pay more for everything celebration-related, whether they are items you need for Lakshmi Puja, or just gifts for your friends.

Pay more for dry fruits
After a long spell of almost eight months, wholesale dry fruits business at Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) market has seen a significant growth and prices have gone up by 25 per cent compared to last year.

Happy traders hope the boom lasts throughout the festive season. "The demand for dry fruits in the last eight months was the lowest I have ever seen. Even in the month of Ramzan and Ganeshotsava it did not increase," said Pravin Dedhia, a dry fruits wholesaler at the market.

Now, cashew nuts have gone up from Rs 580 to Rs 700 while raisins have jumped from Rs 180 to Rs 440.
According to Dedhia, the low demand was due to the increased government duty on dry fruits and a hike in the prices of petroleum products.

This festive season, 50 containers of dry fruits are being sold in around 200 wholesale shops at the APMC dry fruit market.

Corporates too are stocking up. Sunil Bhanushali, wholesale trader at the dry fruit section of the APMC market said, "The large orders are coming from corporate companies. The demand from retailers has not increased much. Corporations have contributed about 80 per cent to our sales this season."

Lanterns and flowers get costly
Prices of lanterns (kandils) have also increased by 10 per cent this year. But sellers say this has not stopped people from buying lanterns to celebrate Diwali.

Santosh Kadam, a lantern seller in Dadar, said, "As prices of raw materials like plastic, ribbons, beads, decorative items have increased in last few months, the prices of lanterns too have increased by around 10per cent. But it has not had any impact on sales. I have sold more lanterns this Diwali season compared to last year's Diwali."

Chinese lanterns dominate the market this year too, Kadam adds. "They are cheaper than the local ones and attractive too. Chinese lanterns hit the market with new designs every year, so the demand for them is quite high."

Although the rates of flowers have not increased in the last few days, they are expected to increase by 20 to 30 per cent during Diwali/ Lakshmi Puja. Nilesh Choukhure, a flower seller at Dadar said, "During Diwali people purchase a lot of marigolds for puja. At present, Marigold is available for Rs 40 a kg, while Shevanti is for Rs 60 a kg. During Diwali, these prices are likely to increase by 20 per cent."

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