The fireworks industry will counter a petition in the Supreme Court that had sought a nationwide ban. The court has admitted the counter-petition, and it is scheduled for hearing two weeks from now, according to industry representatives.

K Mariappan, General Secretary, Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers’ Association (TNFAMA), told BusinessLine there are over six petitions asking for a ban on fireworks from New Delhi-NCR, Kolkata, Haryana and Punjab. “It is unfair to ban fireworks when there are so many factors at play for causing pollution. We will be countering petitioners two weeks from now,” he added.

Around 822 fireworks factories in Sivakasi district have been shut down from December 23 for want of clarity. The industry accounts for about ₹6,000 crore in business.

Around eight lakh workers are rendered jobless when the factories are closed. There are many allied industries like dealers, transporters and printing presses that solely depend on the firework industry for survival. With the closure even these factories have shut down.

“The district has come to a stand still,” said former TNFAMA president G Abiruben.

The industry has been feeling the heat since the Supreme Court ban on fireworks in New Delhi-NCR prior to Diwali. This had a huge impact on the manufacturers as the Delhi-NCR market accounts for about 30 per cent of total fireworks sale, and North India for about 90 per cent. The judgment dealt a huge blow as demand declined substantially and most manufacturers incurred a significant loss.

Other pollutants

Abiruben argues that while there are more factors that have resulted in causing pollution in Delhi, it is unfair to blame the fireworks industry, considering crackers are burst only on Diwali day.

As an industry, he said, they are working with educational institutions to reduce the emission levels.

“We are working on a proposal with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras to study every product and improve on the emission levels,” he said. The proposal has been in the works for the past two months.

Abiruben further said: “When as an industry we are working hard to produce eco-friendly fireworks we want a permanent solution — either we continue to make fireworks or not. Putting a temporary ban on the industry is affecting us a lot more.”