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No fireworks from Sivakasi for Brazil

8th August 2016

- News Today

No fireworks from Sivakasi for Brazil

Chennai: When the entire world was focused and awestruck by the fireworks display during the inauguration of the Rio Summer Olympics, there were people in Chennai who were confident that some of the fireworks were exported from Tamilnadu, the land famous for its branded crackers. All because the State is home to the place synonymous with the word fireworks - Sivakasi.

But, News Today, speaking to one of the leading brands of fireworks in the country, found that not even a single firework was exported to Brazil for the spectacular display there.

Sanjay Gunasingh from Standard Fireworks Ltd said the workers here were not able to compete with the fireworks produced at the international level. "Though we are famous for our fireworks, our talent pool has not improved because of the lack of a platform to display it," he said over phone from Sivakasi.

Though crackers are used during various festivals like Deepavali and special occasions, we do not display fireworks like the western countries, he explained. "During Deepavali or other functions, we burst crackers and these are mostly basic type and they do not have the design and attraction like that of the Chinese crackers. It is not that we cannot produce such crackers, but we do not have the occasion to sell them even if we manufactured them," he said.

Sivakasi is the nodal centre for firecracker manufacture in India. The hot and dry climate of the town makes it suitable to produce fireworks and approximately 70 per cent of firecrackers in the country are produced here.

According to sources, in 2011, the industry had employed over 25,000 people and some of the private enterprises had an annual turnover of Rs 5 billion. In 2012, the industry suffered 15 to 20 per cent production loss due to power shortage and escalating labour cost. "It has been declining ever since then and rubbing salt into the wounds was the entry of Chinese crackers which made things worse for the industry," the sources added.

With the "Make in India" initiative widely talked about, Sanjay added that even after several requests made to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the development of the industry, they have so far got no response.

"We requested the Prime Minister to have public display of fireworks on Independence Day and Republic Day just like it happens in western countries. This will also provide a platform for people to come together, which, in turn, will boost the industry. They will come up with new ideas that can outsmart the firecracker manufacturers of other countries," he added.

"With the price at which we sell our firecrackers, we are not even in the running to compete with Chinese crackers. With so many livelihoods dependent on it, it is only by displaying our skills and increasing our sale can we cut down the price. This will help improve the quality of the life of the people," he suggested.

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