MSME

Cracker ban can take sparkle off for 8 lakh people

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on November 06, 2020

Sivakasi produces over 90 per cent of the country’s crackers worth over ₹ 3,000 crore   -  R_ASHOK

Cracker manufacturers at Sivakasi are worried that fireworks worth crores of rupees will remain left unsold this Diwali as more States are banning the sale of crackers due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

After Rajasthan and Odisha, Karnataka today banned cracker sale due to the pandemic. The Delhi government has said that only green crackers will be allowed. These States are some of the largest markets for the cracker industry, said a manufacturer. The small town of Sivakasi produces over 90 per cent of the country’s crackers worth over ₹3,000 crore.

Over 90 per cent of stocks were despatched from Sivakasi before October to be available on time for Diwali. However, due to the ban, the unsold stocks will be idle with various distributors, he said. “It is unfair to say that crackers will impact during the Covid-19 days. There is also no valid data to prove that bursting of crackers can affect Covid-19 patients,” said a manufacturer.

 

“This year, it will be a Green Diwali with minimal impact from crackers,” said another manufacturer. As per the directions of the Supreme Court, manufacturers have produced mainly green crackers. There is no question of environmental pollution,” he said. The Supreme Court, in its judgment on October 23, 2018, directed all the States “to encourage bursting of crackers in public places for a limited period of two hours on the day of Diwali”.

TN’s request

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami on Thursday tried a rescue of the cracker industry by urging his counterparts in Odisha and Rajasthan not to ban the sale crackers this Diwali season. However, there has been no response so far from the two governments.

 

Cracker manufacturers are using raw materials that reduced emission and decibel levels. Tamil Nadu accounts for about 90 per cent of all the crackers manufactured in the country, providing jobs directly to around 4 lakh people and indirect employment to another 4 lakh. Their livelihood solely depends on the sale of crackers during Diwali season, the CM said.

“The ban on bursting crackers in your State can have a direct bearing on the livelihood of over 8 lakh workers in Tamil Nadu and another equal number of people engaged in its sale,” Palaniswami told his counterparts.

Support from social media

A number of people took to the social media to support the manufacturers. “Kindly revoke the ban of firecrackers! Firecrackers are the livelihood of a lot of people in and around Sivakasi. Please don’t spoil their festival. If and only firecrackers were purchased(wholesale or retail) from them then only they can have money for a living,” said a tweet.

Another said, “We have to fight long, costly legal battles and don’t get timely hearings too. Lakhs of people suffer. Sivakasi group has fought since the last two years, readied Green Firecrackers and sold them now. Yet easily banned at last moments.”

Published on November 06, 2020

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