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Chinese ChotaBheem crackers raise safety questions

12th October 2014

Courtesy: The Hindu

Chinese "Chota Bheem" crackers raise safety questions

"Chota Bheem" is a name familiar to children in India. But it has now become a brand for crackers made in China.

Packed in covers with "Chota Bheem" logo and "Made in China" reference, questions are being raised over the sale and safety of these “highly hazardous” fireworks.

A circular issued by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion in the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry states that fireworks of foreign origin are illegally brought into India under false declarations. These smuggled items contain chemicals such as Potassium Chlorate, which is a dangerous and hazardous chemical that can ignite or explode spontaneously.

“The manufacture, possession, use and sale of any explosive containing sulphur or sulphurate in admixture with any chlorate is banned in India. It is illegal and punishable under the law,” the circular says. It also mentions that sale or possession of such fireworks may be reported to the nearest police station.

G. Abiruben, president, Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers’ Association (TANFAMA), told The Hindu that Indian crackers are non-friction-sensitive, whereas Chinese crackers are friction-sensitive.

If a child handles a Chinese cracker wrongly, it will explode on his face due to the presence of potassium chlorate. In Sivakasi, we use only safe chemicals,” he explains.

“There will be high-decibel noise from Chinese products but safety is doubtful,” says A. P. Selvarajan, past president of TANFAMA. Since the fuse size is less, it is highly dangerous to hold them in hand.

“To whom will the people complain if something happens while bursting crackers made in China? Here, at least, you can identify the manufacturer. Understanding the severity of the situation, the government must prevent any more arrival of containers with crackers from China,” says Mr. Abiruben.

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