The price of the Matchbox ‘Basic Goods’ will be raised by 1 rupee from 1 December and will be sold at 2 rupees. The Secretary of the National Association of Small Matchbox Manufacturers, VS Sethurathinam, said the industry has faced huge debts due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, consumers will get more matches in a box when they buy them at Rs 2, an increase from 36 matches to 50 per box.
When asked how the industry has survived the coronavirus pandemic, Sethurathinam told The Indian Express, “We had to keep the units running or else the workers would have moved to other companies. Matchbox is a commodity like rice, sugar etc. We worked Even during the pandemic. The machine used to manufacture these matches costs around Rs 1.5 crore, and we can’t let that sit idle. Due to Covid restrictions, we have faced huge debts.”
Sethurathinam said the proposed price increase comes after a 14-year gap. He said that the prices of raw materials have gone up which led to a jump in the cost of production, adding, “We have no other choice but to increase the selling price (maximum retail price)”.
The price of all fourteen major raw materials rose. “A kilo of red phosphorous increased from Rs 410 to Rs 850, wax from Rs 72 to Rs 85, potassium chlorate from Rs 68 to Rs 80, and splints (sticks) from Rs 42 to Rs 48. The outer box from Rs 42 to Rs 55 and Inner box from Rs 38 to Rs 48. Like this, the price of all raw materials increased diversly.”
The rise in fuel prices is another factor. This has increased the cost of transportation.” Hence, starting from December 1, the matchbox price will be increased to Rs 2 (MRP) from the current Rs 1, he said.
After about six months we may review the situation. In 2007, the price was increased from fifty baisa to 1 rupee per matchbox. However, Sethurathinam said the number of matches in a matchbox will rise to 50 from currently 36.
“When you pay 2 rupees, you will get 50 matches.” He said that the price increase will help in addressing the situation that arose due to the high cost of production and the decision to raise prices was taken after discussions with all the associations, he said. .
About five people depend on the matchbox industry directly and indirectly, he said, and 90 percent of the workforce is women. Tamil Nadu is a leading manufacturer of matchboxes and Kovelpati, Sator, Sivakasi, Theurthangal, Itayapuram, Kazugumalai, Sankarankwil, Gudiatam and Kaveripakam are the main production centers.
Roughly, there are 1000 units of matchboxes which includes small and medium sized matchbox manufacturers as well.
(with input from PTI)