When the kerosene supply went down sharply in Nagpur four years ago, Bharat Parihar's business of renting out Petromax lamps to vegetable vendors began to look fragile.
But then he hit upon a solution that not only saved his business but also pleased his customers. He began to rent out portable compact fluorescent lamps known as cfls. "Earlier, we paid Rs 20 for hiring a Petromax lamp. Now the cost has come down to Rs 15," said Deepak Chacherkar, one of Parihar's clients.
In Bengalooru, the lamps with thin white tubes have turned business brisk for about 60 vendors at the semi-urban Nagnathpura market who had switched over to energy-efficient cfls from kerosene lamps. "It is easier for my customers to choose vegetables in cfl light," said Gangadhar G K, sitting on the pavement with the white lamp beside him.With the number of customers increasing, he now does business till late in the evening. Two years ago, an entrepreneur rented Gangadhar a battery-operated cfl, for which he pays Rs 20 a day, almost as much as he was spending on kerosene in the black.
Move to the Northeast. Uday Kumar Das, a shopkeeper of an electrical goods store at Dispur in Guwahati, said his customers prefer cfls for their efficiency even if they have to pay more. "I have been selling cfls since 2003. Then, only a few bulbs would leave the shelf, but for a year now I have been selling about 300 bulbs a month," he said.