Thursday, 18th October, 2018

NGOs buy thousands of candles in wholesale as security agencies report potential terrorist activity

08, Mar 2016 By Pagla Ghoda

New Delhi: Several NGOs and social service organizations in the city have booked huge order of candles and posters in advance as security agencies have sounded terror alert and are reporting terrorist sightings in 10 major cities in India.

An NGO's (only) inventory room
An NGO’s (only) inventory room

Shilpa Stokes (name changed) is an MBA intern with a major NGO and is appointed the “head of candle arrangement and logistics”. She spoke to us on conditions of anonymity. She said, “Just after terror attacks happen and our army and agencies kill these terrorists, we are planning to hold back to back candle light vigils, in and around India-Gate area in memory of innocent terrorists. And number of candles required is just huge. Even if we have 5 vigils planned, we would need at least 3 round of candles for each vigil. One round when we do an initial candle light march and media takes pictures. Second round when we start lighting the candles and third round in case we are short or some candles are damaged we need to replace them. And we would be paying around 5 thousand volunteers on hourly basis for each vigil. So overall candle expenditure runs in lakhs. Which is why we have made advanced bookings with the wholesaler directly.”

Looking at her flashy Rolex watch Shilpa further said, “Being a candle manager for an NGO is a very important post that tests my vendor manager and operations manager skills both. I have to negotiate prices for candles in bulk orders and make sure that they are quality check and delivered to each and every volunteer. I also have to keep eye on some of the paid volunteers who steal candles and later use them for their own personal purposes”.

Jageesh J John who is in candle manufacturing business for 32 years, echoes some of Shilpa’s views. He said, “Earlier our business saw huge seasonality during Diwali or Christmas time when people usually light candles. But with NGO business prospering in the country the demand is almost evergreen. Especially when these terror threats are sounded, many NGO approach us for bulk orders. It becomes difficult for us to meet such sudden demands at times, but we do all we can to satisfy our customers. Which is why I have one employee fully dedicated to listening news 24 x 7. He alerts us of potential bulk orders in advance.”