His rates are almost half compared to that of stalls selling fireworks and sometimes even lesser

Buying firecrackers This Hyderabad charity website plants a sapling for every order
news Diwali Tuesday, November 03, 2015 - 15:17

"It was the Diwali of 2013 and I took some money and went to buy crackers for the entire night, but hardly got any. I took the same amount again to another shop and got five times as much. That's when the realization struck," says Vishwajeeth Vangala, the man behind a growing e-commerce website for firecrackers.

The 26-year-old Hyderabad based software engineer noticed a huge disproportion between the manufacturing cost and selling cost of crackers and how people were at the mercy of the traders. "That's what made us start the website," he says.

In August 2014, Vishwajeeth, his brother Vishnuvardhan Vangala, and Naveen Vadapally started Hitech crackers, to make crackers more affordable to the general public in Hyderabad.

His rates are almost half compared to that of stalls selling fireworks and sometimes even lesser.

"After a month, we decided that maybe we didn't want to make this a regular business, and wanted to do something more. I was reading this article that said Indians burst Rs 3,000 crores worth of firecrackers during Diwali season in 2013. Can you imagine the amount of pollution?" he asks.

(Vishwajeeth Vangala)

That triggered Vishwajeeth's enthusiasm for "anti-pollutants," as he calls them, and the website now plants a tree for every order you place.

"We also decided that we didn't want to make a profit and so after running on minimal operation and managing costs, we give the rest to charity," he adds.

Vishwajeeth and the others at the website felt it was a 'sin' to collect money at the cost of polluting the environment and wasting thousands of crores.

(A screenshot from the website)

"We wanted to find a specific cause rather than just go and give it to an NGO. Right after Diwali last year, cyclone Hudhud had struck Andhra Pradesh. We had found our cause for 2014," he says.

According to the United Nations, Cyclone Hudhud that lashed India's south-east coast was the second costliest disaster of 2014 in the Asia-Pacific region causing losses worth $11 billion.

"We donated all the money from the website to the relief fund," says Vishwajeeth.

This year, their website is doing much better, already crossing last year's sales. "We're planning to install water purifier plants in rural Telangana where there is a dire need for clean water," he says, while adding that they are yet to figure out the logistics. 

As of now, the website only delivers to Hyderabad and Warangal.

"We're planning to expand soon. Maybe cover all the 10 districts of Telangana first. We are also striving hard to provide education in rural areas along with the water plants and electricity," Vishwajeeth adds.

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