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|Firework units may down shutters in TN|
Firework units may down shutters in TN
Nearly 1,100 fireworks manufacturing factories employing eight lakh people (three lakh direct employees and five lakh indirect employees) face uncertain future and troubled times as a follow-up to Tuesday’s Supreme Court verdict banning the manufacture and sale of certain categories of fireworks and also fixing the hours at which the firecrackers could be burst.
The apex court order restricting the hours at which the firecrackers could be burst during festivities have added to the woes of the general public in Tamil Nadu. The State occupies a distinct position in India as the fireworks capital of the country as well as one of the lead consumers of firecrackers. In Tamil Nadu, fireworks are an essential ingredient not only during festivals but at the time of death too. It is mandatory for certain communities to burst firecrackers when the departed souls are taken out to the burial ground for their final journey.
“We do not have any issues with the Supreme Court verdict. But the industry itself is facing a number of issues including the threat posed by Chinese firecrackers smuggled into the country. The smuggled firecrackers are being openly sold all over Tamil Nadu and in the rest of the country,” K Mariappan, secretary, Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers’ Association (TANFAMA), told The Pioneer over telephone from Sivakasi
He said the Supreme Court order making it mandatory to manufacture only green fireworks remains a mystery. “Since we came to know about the verdict, we have been struggling to find out what is this green fireworks. Till Wednesday evening, we could not find out the definition for green fireworks either from the Encyclopaedia or the internet. Either way, the industry is all set to pull down the shutters as the court has asked the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO) to cancel the licenses of all units that do not meet the conditions specified in the verdict,” said Mariappan.
Some of the manufacturers of fireworks told this paper that it would take a couple of years for them to switch over to products (firecrackers) that meet the mandatory requirements set by the apex court. “It could be done only in phases. You cannot change the product or the manufacturing techniques overnight,” said the owner of a fireworks manufacturing unit at Sivakasi.
The general public too are upset over the court verdict which has fixed the hours during which firecrackers could be burst. For Deepavali, fireworks could be burst only between 8 pm and 10 pm as the court verdict. “This is ridiculous. The court cannot give directions to us when to celebrate Deepavali and the time of bursting crackers. In Tamil Nadu, we celebrate Deepavali in the early hours and the fireworks are burst in the wee hours. How can we burst the fireworks at 8 pm?” asked K Asokan, who is particular about Deepavali celebrations. “These fireworks are burst for the happiness of the children and aged alike. It has been a long standing tradition that the firecrackers are burst early morning,” he said.
Mariappan said that the fireworks manufacturers were willing to bring down the sound level to that specified by the court. “But it will take time and the Court should come forward to help us from the onslaught of the Chinese fireworks,” he said.
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