After 14 years, the price of a box of matchsticks is set to increase from the present Rs 1. From December 1, the price of a matchbox will be Rs 2. The decision was taken in a meeting with various industry bodies, in view of a rise in production cost, triggered by an increase in the price of raw materials, including the fuel price.
However, although the price has been doubled, consumers will get more matchsticks in a box when they buy it at Rs 2, up from 36 matchsticks to 50 per box. The proposed price increase comes after a gap of 14 years, said VS Sethurathinam, Secretary of the National Small Matchbox Manufacturers Association.
The price of raw materials have increased leading to a jump in the cost of production, he said. â€śWe have no other option but to increase the selling (Maximum Retail Price) price," he said, adding, â€śAfter about six months we may review the situation.â€ť
The price of all the 14 key raw materials has increased. "A kilo of red phosphorus has increased from Rs 410 to Rs 850, wax from Rs 72 to Rs 85, potassium chlorate Rs 68 to Rs 80, splints (sticks) from Rs 42 to Rs 48, the outer box from Rs 42 to Rs 55 and the inner box from Rs 38 to Rs 48. Like this, the price of all raw materials have increased manifold," he told PTI.
The rise in fuel prices is also a factor. â€śIt has led to an increase in transportation cost," he said. Hence, from December 1, the price of a matchbox would be increased to Rs 2 (MRP) from the present Rs 1, he said.
The price of one matchbox was last increased from 50 paise to Rs 1 in 2007. Prior to that, the price was increased from 25 paise to 50 paise per matchbox in 1995.
The price increase would help tackle the situation that has arisen due to the rise in production cost and the decision to go for a hike was taken after discussions with all associations, said Sethurathinam.
About five lakh people are dependent on the matchbox industry directly and indirectly and 90% of the workforce is women, he said.
Tamil Nadu is a leading manufacturer of matchboxes and Kovilpatti, Sattur, Sivakasi, Thiurthangal, Ettayapuram, Kazhugumalai, Sankarankoil, Gudiyattam and Kaveripakkam are the major production centres. Approximately, there are 1,000 matchbox units which includes small and medium sized matchbox manufacturers as well.