October 9, 2017
For Sivakasi, it is not a happy Diwali this year
Chennai: If the two shocks of demonetization and GST had the Sivakasi firecracker industry already reeling, the Supreme Court Monday order banning sale of firecrackers in Delhi and NCR will spell the death of the Tamil Nadu firecracker industrial town, which is also the country’s biggest firecracker manufacturing base.
At a conservative estimate, losses due to the SC order, just ahead of Diwali, could run into Rs 1000 crore and affect 8 lakh workers engaged in the industry. Firecracker manufacturers in Sivakasi are not very hopeful of a review petition against the three-member bench order, besides coming so close to Diwali scope for filing a review was limited due to paucity of time.
Sivakasi in Virudunagar district of southern Tamil Nadu houses some 900 fire cracker units, big and small, that directly employ 3 lakh workers. Another five lakh people are engaged in the anciellery units and related activities of printing, packaging, transporting and selling.
Delhi and NCR constitute a key market, with sales close to Rs 1000 crore from the region in Diwali, which is what the manufacturers are crying that they will lose out. But more scary is the through that other states could announce a ban citing the SC order that even they would like to protect their regions from noise pollution and environmental pollution.
Said Asai Thmabi, president of Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association, “there is no time to file a review. It is all over for us.” The association had impleaded itself in the case filed by the Delhi fireworks dealers.
Sivakasi, that has seen many fire accidents in the past, accounts for nearly 90 per cent of the firecracker manufacturing in the country.
“Diwali is the time we make the maximum profits and the SC order has completely shattered us,” he said adding in other states too they may face trouble.
Are the firecrackers the only pollutants? What about the vehicular population that adds to pollution all-round the year, he questioned adding that “we can cause pollution for a few days.”
Rameswaran G, a small manufacturer from a village near Sivakasi said that the SC order definitely hurts the sentiments of many people as “there can be no Diwali without firecrackers. The court should also take this into account.”