One thing Piyali Ghosh, a marketing professional, never forgets to carry these days is her trustworthy pepper spray. She is one among the thousands of working women in the city who stay out till late night and feel the need for a safety device that is handy and effective.
Following the spurt in rape cases in the city, more women are putting their faith in pepper sprays for self-defense. In the last six months, the sale of these sprays has shot up by more than four times here.
“The Cobra Pepper Spray was launched six months ago. Priced at Rs. 499, we were initially selling about 50-60 cans a month. Now, it has shot up to 200 – 300 cans,” said Anmol Arora, director of the Calcutta Chemical Corporation.
Businessman V Jain bought the spray for his 22-year-old daughter since she travels long distances regularly. “With crimes against women on the rise in the city, I bought two cans for my daughter. She keeps one in her bag and the other in her car,” he said.
Each canister weighs about 35gm and is good for 5-6 sprays. It can take down eight to 10 people at a time. Although the spray does not harm the person permanently, his eyes keep burning for a couple of hours.
Although it is called pepper powder, the main ingredient is a chemical derived from a fruit from the chilli group which causes a burning sensation. It goes way back to the 1980s when it was first used by the US postal service to scare away dogs. In India, it was introduced a few years ago.
A shop owner at Metro Plaza said, “A few months ago we used to sell five cans. Now, we easily sell 60 cans.”
“We only hear about these sprays, but they aren’t available in the stores. The spray is good to scare away criminals,” said Jadavpur University student Ankita Ghosh.
Congratulations to officials in India for allowing their citizens to protect themselves. Too bad Great Britain and Australia still prevent their citizen from carrying self defense products. Maybe after more of their citizens are victimized, the politicians will see the error of their ways…..but we’re not holding our breath!
Click this link to purchase pepper spray, stun guns or other personal protection products.